KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — John F. Kennedy Elementary School was nationally recognized as a 2023 Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School, and Kingsport City Schools (KCS) officials announced news of the award to students on Friday.

Kennedy Elementary’s Principal Janice Irvin told News Channel 11 that the recognition is earned through a lengthy review process by the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence (BRSE), a nonprofit that distributes the awards across America.

“It’s an organization that comes into your school and they’ll give you feedback on what’s going really well and just give you some ideas for how you could improve it,” she said. “So, it’s been over a year of a process.”

Irvin said Kennedy Elementary is the only school in the KCS system that has received this recognition, and it’s all thanks to the combined efforts of the community.

“So this is the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of great people. So we did a lot of training and then they surveyed our community. They came to our school for two days and talked to students and families and gathered a whole bunch of data, just about nine different indicators. And everything was exemplary when they when they looked at it.”

KCS Superintendent Chris Hampton was at Kennedy Elementary on Friday as administrators told students about the big award. His statement to the community can be found below:

Hats off to the students and staff at Kennedy Elementary for the hard work and commitment they invested in order to earn the designation of a Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School. Earning the status of a Lighthouse School is no easy feat. Kingsport City Schools is incredibly proud of this accomplishment and everything that went into making this lofty goal a reality. Kennedy Elementary is a very special school and it is an honor to celebrate this success with them!

Kingsport City Schools Superintendent Dr. Chris Hampton