By Kevin O’Rourke
Germantown resident and Roberto Clemente Middle School sixth-grader, Morgan Taylor was selected to introduce Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony held earlier this week.
During the ceremony, held on Tuesday, Nov. 11 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC, the Department of Education honored 287 public and 50 private schools. In its 32-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award on just under 7,900 of America's schools.
The 11-year old, Taylor was escorted behind the scenes to meet Secretary Duncan before the ceremony began. She said that Secret Service was everywhere and she was a bit intimidated, but after meeting the Secretary and having the official photographer take some photos, she calmed down.
Taylor then spoke before more than 800 guests including superintendents, principals, teachers and Department of Education guests, gathered for the awards ceremony. She admitted she was a little nervous, but her speech was flawless.
Prior to the event, Taylor was given was provided with talking points about Secretary Duncan by the Department of Education. She spent several days researching information about Duncan, trying to make connections with her life experiences and his, polished her speech and spoke for several minutes detailing Duncan's childhood, basketball career at Harvard and his current position on ensuring a world class education for all children regardless of race, economic status or background.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students either achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap.
Among the schools honored was Cashell Elementary School, an MCPS school in Rockville.