DALLAS TWP. — Dubbing herself “the first lady and second banana,” Gov. Tom Corbett’s wife, Susan, came to town to give Dallas and Wycallis elementary schools the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Academics today, presenting large banners she said would remind students and visitors every day that they “are in a great school.”
The governor had been scheduled to appear as well, but had been “called to an emergency,” Superintendent Frank Galicki told the students. Tom Corbett opted to head to Montgomery County to declare a state of emergency in the wake of extensive storm damage that left many without power.
“But he sent the real brains of the operation,” Galicki said in his introduction of Susan Corbett.
The Governor’s Award is being given to schools that scored 90 or higher in the new School Performance Profile system introduced last fall. The system looks at a wide range of standardized tests as well as other factors to give each public school school a score of up to 100, with extra credit worth another seven points.
“Somewhere in Pennsylvania, a student is getting prepared to change the world,” Susan Corbett told the crowd, adding that, with the two Dallas schools reaching the highest scores in Luzerne County, “one day the world is going to be hearing from one or two graduating from Dallas.”
Galicki praised the success but told students to look forward and work to achieve more. “This year we’re number one in Luzerne County,” he said. “Next year we want to be number one in the state.”
Wycallis Elementary Principal Paul Reinert said the school accepted the challenge and praised staffers and students. Dallas Elementary Principal Tom Traver said the reason the district schools do so well is “we do things different. We work harder.”
And while the youngsters stayed relatively quiet throughout the program — likely not even noticing Susan Corbett pronounced “Wycallis” with a soft “c” — they weren’t afraid to rattle the rafters when Dallas graduate and state Sen. Lisa Baker urged them to yell a “thank you” to their teachers “that the seniors on the second floor will hear.”
Susan Corbett noted more than 400 schools statewide had earned the award, but after the program said that “two schools in the same district doing so well is very rare.”
State Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq and state Rep. Karen Boback, R-Harveys Lake, joined Corbett in praising the schools.