MSGA was deemed a Lighthouse School by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform in January. There are fewer than 20 Georgia schools, and about 400 nationally, that have received the honor since the program began in 2002.
“It is a humbling and proud moment as the principal at MSGA,” said Gabe Carmona. “I’m so proud of our staff, our students and our community. It truly, truly takes everyone, and we’re just honored to receive this state and national recognition.”
The school, which serves about 660 sixth-graders, celebrated with performances by the choral, band and drama programs, and speeches from guest speakers Bob Heaberlin and Linda Hopping, who are both middle school principals who have received this honor in the past.
Heaberlin said being a Lighthouse School is the highest honor that can be given to a middle school.
“If it was easy, every one would get one,” he said. “Becoming a Lighthouse School is not easy. Be proud of your accomplishments as students, parents, faculty and community, because you have arrived!”
Hopping presented the Lighthouse School trophy and banner to Carmona at the end of the ceremony.
“Just sitting here for the past 30 minutes, it’s very clear to me why you received this honor,” she said to the crowd.
She told them MSGA is one of five sixth-grade academies that have ever received the honor.
Marietta Superintendent Emily Lembeck, Associate Superintendent Dayton Hibbs and MSGA Assistant Principal Catherine Kacyvenski also addressed the crowd during the celebration.
“I share a great sense of pride in everybody in this room,” Lembeck said.
“All the educators, parents, board members, students and central office staff are all making a tremendous difference in making this school great.”
Hibbs explained what it takes to receive the honor.
Schools are recognized for academic excellence, having opportunities for all students to learn at high levels, creating an environment that prepares students for success and the entire school working together to focus on high-quality students.
Kacyvenski said MSGA helps students transition from elementary school to middle school. They serve students from eight elementary schools.
“Our school is committed to excellence and has high standards for all of its students,” she said. “It’s a privilege to be an administrator in this building and be influenced by all the people in it. May you all let your light shine.”
Carmona and members of his staff will travel to Washington, D.C., this summer to be recognized nationally for the three-year designated honor.