By John R. Anderson

At a gathering on February 26th, former faculty members of Pakachoag Elementary School came to celebrate the school’s designation as a National Blue Ribbon School. In the function room at Chuck’s Steak House, they had some food, shared stories, and bonded once again. Most are now on the staff of Swanson Road Intermediate School, but memories of Pakachoag persist.

Former Principal Deb Kozik was the host, and her words were most appropriate, “I am actually beyond thrilled and honored to be able to be here tonight to recognize this incredible team of professionals on their very impressive recognition as a 2015 National Blue Ribbon School. This award represents the continued hard work seen year after year by the students and teachers of Pakachoag. You are one of just 5 schools in the state to receive this honor and one of only 335 across the country.”

Representative Paul Frost and Senator Michael Moore were on hand to present Kozik with citations from their legislative bodies, and Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito sent recognition as well. Superintendent Maryellen Brunelle told the audience, “I do want to thank you most sincerely for the work you do everyday.”

Holly Hodgkins, who works in Congressman James McGovern’s Worcester office, spoke on behalf of the Represenformer faculty members of Pakachoag Elementary School came to celebrate the school’s designation as a National Blue Ribbon School. tative and acknowledged her close ties to Pakachoag School. She is a graduate of Auburn High School and two of her Pakachoag teachers were in the audience.

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On October 20, 2015, the honor for Pakachoag was read into the Congressional Record during the first session of the 114th Congress. In part, “The Pakachoag Pledge ‘We are prepared, aware, and kind.” echoes the school’s focus on ensuring students can become considerate and intelligent luminaries in the world outside the classroom.”

Carol Bowes, representing the faculty, said to SWIS Principal Susan Lopez, “You have the best staff.” To Kozik she added, “I know how hard she worked everyday.” Bowes travelled to Washington D.C. with the Principal to accept the award.

This was a great honor for all those involved, and the local business community stepped up once again to show their support. Those providing assistance were the Auburn Industrial Park, Auburn Youth and Family Services, Chuck’s Steak House, Market Basket, Masterman’s, Savers Bank, Southbridge Savings Bank, and Webster First Bank.

Kozik stated another amazing fact about the Auburn Public Schools, “Pakachoag has now joined forces with Julia Bancroft and are now known as Swanson Road Intermediate School. And what a powerhouse that must be. Two recipients of the NBR award under one roof… They say lightning doesn’t strike twice but we all know that in 2014 JB received the National Blue Ribbon and now in 2015 Pakachoag has done the same.”

Congratulations to all those involved.