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Elementary and Primary Education
Galveston Independent School District
News Release
Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Austin Middle School celebrates prestigious National Blue Ribbon Award
with NASA astronaut Scott Kelly this Thursday

GALVESTON, Texas – The students and staff at Galveston ISD’s Austin Middle School will take a few moments away from studies this Thursday, Feb. 2 to recognize the campus as a National Blue Ribbon Award recipient and welcome NASA astronaut, Commander Scott Kelly. The National Blue Ribbon Award is annually awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to the highest performing schools in the country. The ceremony starts at 10 a.m.

“This is a great accomplishment for staff and students at Austin,” said Principal Cathy Van Ness. “We couldn’t have done this without the support of parents, community members and leaders at Galveston ISD. Everyone is excited to welcome Commander Scott Kelly to a campus that focuses its curriculum on the subjects necessary to becoming an astronaut.”

Austin Middle School was built in 1939, going through several transformations over the years. Four years ago, Austin became a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math magnet school. Since that time, the campus has been recognized as “Academically Exemplary” by the Texas Education Agency three years in a row, and received both the National Title I Distinguished Schools Award and the National Blue Ribbon designation for the previous school year.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools program recognizes public and non-public elementary, middle, and high schools where students achieve at very high levels and/or significantly narrow the achievement gap. The program sets a standard of excellence for all schools striving for the highest level of achievement. It is part of a larger U. S. Department of Education effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about best school leadership and teaching practices.

Commander Scott Kelly served as a NASA astronaut since April 1996. A veteran of three space flights, Kelly has logged more than 180 days in space. He served as pilot on mission STS-103 in 1999, and was the mission commander on STS-118 in 2007. Kelly also served as a Flight Engineer for ISS Expedition 25 and as the Commander of ISS Expedition 26. His brother, Mark Kelly, is also a decorated astronaut.

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