Chapman named National Blue Ribbon School

Principal Andrew McMillan (center) stands with administrative team, Ricky Pace (left) and Amy Driggers (right) following the National Blue Ribbon School ceremony on Sept. 24.

Last Thursday around 1 p.m., Chapman Principal Andrew McMillan got to reveal the secret he’s been hiding since last Christmas: Chapman is a National Blue Ribbon School.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, “The National Blue Ribbon School award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content.”

This coveted award has been given to less than 10,000 schools nationwide since 1982

The application process includes submitting test scores, demographic data and narrative pieces, but some of the information comes from the State Department of Education, leaving it totally out of McMillan’s hands. 

“It’s not something we actively sought out,” McMillan said. “They came to us. That always makes you feel good, when somebody thinks enough of you as a school, staff and community to say that they thought we’d be a great representation of what a Blue Ribbon School looks like.”

McMillan said that the award is the result of years of hard work. 

“It makes me really proud of what our kids do, what our staff does,” McMillan said. “This doesn’t happen overnight. Chapman has been going towards a path of excellence for a long time, and in the last few years we’ve really turned a corner to how great we can be.”

Any school in the state can be nominated for the award, so it speaks to Chapman’s excellence that the school was nominated over many private and charter schools that only accept students after a rigorous application process. 

“We serve all students grades 9-12 in our area,” McMillan said. “It doesn’t matter if they’re incredibly brilliant or learning disabled, we serve everyone, so to be recognized for that is quite an accomplishment because our kids really just work hard.”

The National Blue Ribbon School award not only highlights Chapman but also its surrounding community. The Upstate’s already competitive housing market is liable to get even busier in and around Inman as families are drawn towards Chapman. 

“We have to be careful to make sure that new people understand the culture and the climate that we have, the community that we have. They have to get in and work,” McMillan said.

McMillan emphasized that students and staff have to focus on continuing Chapman’s standard of excellence. Even though Chapman has achieved the highest award possible, it’s vital to any future success that we keep looking to improve in every aspect. 

“This is something that will stick with the school for the rest of Chapman’s history,” McMillan said. “Let’s keep going.”