Piedmont, Ala.: Population 5,120 (88.8 percent Caucasian, 1 percent Latino, 9.4 percent black), average age 40.2, median income $24,893, high school graduates 61.4 percent, bachelor’s degree or higher 10.4 percent, 8 percent live in poverty.
There is little in common between those cities except the only two high schools in the state to receive the 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools Award are in these towns. Established in 1982, this is the highest award an American school can achieve. The award honors exemplary schools.
As a side note, Piedmont High School this year was also recognized as the 148th of the 22,000 Best High Schools in America by U.S. News and World Report.
In addition, Piedmont is ranked ninth out of 359 public high schools in Alabama. White Plains High School came in at 35th, Alexandria High School at 36th, Jacksonville High School at 102nd and Oxford High School at 105th.
These recognitions are the result of the hard work and dedication of the superintendent, school board, principals, teachers, paraprofessionals, counselors, cafeteria staffs, bus drivers, custodians and, most important, parents.
There should be large signs placed at all city entrances recognizing the Blue Ribbon and the U.S. News and World Report awards. These are the types of schools businesses look for when they are considering locations for new industry. These are the types of students who will be prepared to work in these businesses, or to go to college or technical schools that enable them to move up the mobility ladder. These educational achievements hold the key to revitalizing Piedmont.
Why isn’t Piedmont boasting about its schools’ awards and using them as selling points for new industry?
Carol W. Knupp