Commack High School recognized as a Blue Ribbon School 


Jillian Helmes, Chief Reporter

Commack High School was recognized as a Blue Ribbon school for Exemplary High Performance on September 21, 2021.

Commack High School was one of 325 schools chosen to receive this title. This is the highest recognition that a school can receive, as it is a nationwide award. Schools are evaluated on their performance over the past five years and have to be recognized at the state level before they can be assessed as a Blue Ribbon school. 

“What this [award] represented was the success of our students, the tremendous work of our staff, our entire community that came together,” said former Commack High School principal Leslie Boritz. 

The staff of the high school created an environment where students can flourish and further their education even during times of crisis. The staff and administration made the changes necessary to adapt to the pandemic but still took into account the emotional health and needs of the students.

“This year’s cohort of honorees demonstrates what is possible when committed educators and school leaders create vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school cultures where rich teaching and learning can flourish. I commend this school and all our Blue Ribbon honorees for working to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. In the face of unprecedented circumstances, you found creative ways to engage, care for, protect, and teach our children,” said United States Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in a statement on the district website. 

This recognition was not solely based on the work of the administration, but rather  the entirety of the Commack community. For example, the school had to adapt their teaching system during the COVID-19 pandemic. Commack High School staff reached out to the community and created a collaborative environment. This adaptability helped to set Commack High School apart from other schools. 

“We met with students, we met with teachers, we met with parents, we met with people from the community. We had it open because we really did need the time to hear their voices,” said Boritz. 

The high school was awarded the Blue Ribbon because of how Commack schools interact with the entire community. 

“The Blue Ribbon happens to become an outcome of what we were trying to normally do in an abnormal year,” said vice principal Matthew Keltos.

Even with the hardships that came with educating during the pandemic, Commack High School continued to provide opportunities for students to get involved that ensured that students would be successful. There are many programs available to aid students in their future such as dual enrollment, advanced placement, and international baccalaureate courses, as well as internships and the Wilson Tech career and technical education program. Commack High School wants students to get involved not only in their school, but in the community. There are over forty clubs and fifteen honor societies that can be joined which encourage students to initiate fundraisers and events that give back to the community. 

“We really put our time and effort into those different programs that could make kids excel for the future. A lot of things that Commack strives itself with is not preparing their kids to get through high school, [but] preparing everyone for the post-high school experience and whatever life leads them to,” said Student Life treasurer, senior  Brennan T.  

While Commack had to change how they ran schools during the pandemic, they made sure that everyone was represented. The Blue Ribbon award was a product of Commack High School’s academics, extracurricular opportunities, and its ability to adapt to the changes of the world and  the community. 

“We adapted. If you don’t adapt, you’re not going to succeed,” said Keltos.🔳