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Montana elementary school receives National Blue Ribbon recognition

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Even though Belgrade doesn't crack the top 10 largest cities in Montana, Heck-Quaw Elementary caught the attention of the highest office in the country.

This week Heck-Quaw was the only school in Montana to be recognized as a National Blue Ribbon school.

The U.S. Department of Education recognized the Belgrade school for its academic excellence.

In total, 349 schools were selected by the federal government for their high marks.

"Somehow, some way, someone saw little Heck-Quaw Elementary," said first grade teacher Cindy Damjanovich. "To receive the award is confirmation that everything we are doing is working. We'll just continue to keep working hard, with or without an award, but it really feels good."

"It's quite an honor. We've done a lot of hard work at our school," Principal Lori Degenhart said. "This is everybody. Everybody involved. The custodians, the lunchroom, the playground aides, the peer professionals, the administration -- the whole entire school district."

School officials will travel to Washington, D.C., next month to formally receive their award.

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