HAGERSTOWN, MD – St. Mary Catholic School (SMCS) received notification earlier in the afternoon that they were named a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.

The National Blue Ribbon program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools that are either academically superior or that demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement to high levels. SMCS was recognized as an Exemplary High Performing School. The designation is the highest academic honor bestowed upon a school by the U.S. Department of Education.

To be eligible to apply as an Exemplary High Performing School, SMCS students had to perform in the top 15% of the nation in reading and mathematics as measured by a nationally normed test in the most recent year tested. Having met the eligibility requirement as a private school, SMCS then had to be nominated by the Council for American Private Education (CAPE) by meeting CAPE’s stringent criteria for recognition. A school must have a strong curricular program and a school culture that supports and engages families and the community.

SMCS met all the requirements and now has received national recognition. They were one of only 342 schools across the nation and one of only 50 private schools in the entire nation to receive this prestigious award.

Mrs. Patricia A. Mc. Dermott, Principal, and Mrs. Mary K. Barger, a middle school teacher who serves as test Coordinator, will be attending the awards ceremony on November 6 and 7 in Washington, D.C. The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education will present SMCS with a plaque and a 2017 national Blue Ribbon flag as a symbol of exemplary teaching and learning for the school to proudly fly in their courtyard.

Learn more about St. Mary Catholic School and this event at

St. Mary Catholic School is located in Hagerstown and serves students in grades Pre-K-8.