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Pine Street a School of Excellence
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State Superintendent Dr. John Barge presented the School of Excellence award to Principal Kim Vier, noting that the award had stars because "You're all superstars." - photo by Michelle Kim

Pine Street Elementary was recognized Friday as a School of Excellence, one of 26 in the state, for making the "Greatest Gains" in its congressional district. 

The Ga. Department of Education recognized two schools in each congressional district, one for making the greatest gains and one for being in the top 10 percent.

Georgia Natural Gas representative Kyla Clark presented PSE Principal Kim Vier with a $1000 check for being a School of Excellence. United Health Care will also fund massage therapists to visit the school for a day for free massages.

Chief Academic Officer Rich Autry noted when the school was established in 1957, "We also knew then Pine Street was a school of excellence."

Vier said, choking up, "To stand here makes me so proud to work with" the teachers and staff members of the school.

State Superintendent Dr. John Barge described a little bit of his hard upbringing and asked the kids who were 9 years old to raise their hands. "That's when I started working," he said. But, he said, "education is the great equalizer." Barge described how education was the path to a better life for him because it didn't matter that he was poor or had difficulty at home.

He also urged teachers to remember this on difficult days. "On that day the students have got you, they've mashed your last buttons, remember that you are not just impacting the life of the child - you're impacting the life of generations," he said.