The assembly had all the makings of a pep rally: cheers, shouts and applause.

The assembly had all the makings of a pep rally: cheers, shouts and applause.

The students at Grizzell Middle School had something to celebrate: a national Blue Ribbon School award.

"We're the only middle school in Ohio to receive the national Blue Ribbon award," principal Thom Jones told students last week. "This is given to schools around the nation who are academically superior."

According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Education, the award is given to public and private schools that are academically superior or have made gains to close the gap in achievement among minority and disadvantaged students.

Grizzell was one of 314 schools to receive the national honor this year.

Statewide, 19 schools were given the honor. Locally, Olentangy Liberty High School received the recognition as well.

"Grizzell is receiving the designation because students scored in the top 10 percent on state assessments and met Ohio's adequate yearly progress requirement on the 2008-09 local report card," said a letter sent to parents.

"This is a true example of what hard work will give you," Jones told students.

Superintendent David Axner and two Dublin school board members also were on hand to praise students and staff.

"It takes a leader, it takes a fine principal and I appreciate (Jones') effort," Axner said.

School board president Gwen Callender praised staff, administration and PTO members before turning to students and thanking them for their academic efforts.

"You all have done a fantastic job of focusing on your studies," she said.

According to the release from the U.S. Department of Education, up to 413 schools can be nominated for the award nationwide. The chief state school officer nominates public schools.

"This is truly something that (we) can be very, very proud of," Jones said. "When you work hard you deserve to see the reward of your efforts."