Barrasso visits Washington Elementary

"We've had a pretty exciting month," Principal Anne Marie Covey told the students at Washington Elementary as they gathered in the gymnasium after school last week.

After being named a Blue Ribbon School at the end of September, the school has been full of excitement and celebrations, which continued as Covey announced to the students they had a special visitor: Senator John Barrasso.

"It is wonderful to be here. Congratulations!" Barrasso told the gathered students, staff, and community members. "Over 500 schools in the state, and only two were selected as the best schools in Wyoming."

Earning a recognition like a Blue Ribbon designation takes "a huge team effort" and "total involvement" from everyone, according to Barrasso, from the students to the parents to the teachers and all school staff members.

After congratulating the students, Senator Barrasso took time to answer some of their questions.

"Why are the gas prices so high?" the first student called out, drawing laughter and cheers from the crowd of school staff and community members.

"This is a wonderful question!" Barrasso said, giving his answer: "We need to use American oil and gas."

Other students asked questions including how often Barrasso gets to see the president, what laws he's passed, what his favorite book is, what inspired him to become a senator, and whether he likes his job.

"I love the opportunity to do what I do with this job because you get to travel around and go to the best schools and congratulate the best schools and the students and the teachers and try to inspire people," Barrasso said while answering students' questions. "But you get that every day here in Washington Elementary, because you have teachers that inspire you to learn more and to be better."

Barrasso also presented the school with an American flag that was flown over the United States Capitol building in Washington, D.C. in honor of Washington Elementary.

"May this flag proudly fly as you pursue your mission of educating and enriching the lives of Wyoming's future leaders," Barrasso read from the certificate included with the flag to be given to the school.

"Boys and girls," Covey said to the students, "I hope you understand what a big deal this is and how amazing it is, and just how proud I am of all of you and your amazing teachers and staff and your parents who work so hard every day. . . And I hope this will be something you remember for the rest of your life, because I know these educators around this room will as well."

Covey said she was thankful for Senator Barrasso taking the time out of his schedule to visit the school and congratulate everyone involved.

"I am very honored and just so excited that he recognizes the amazing work that is going on, not only here in Green River at Washington Elementary, but in our Wyoming schools," Covey said.

Barrasso also took time to honor Covey and recognize her achievements. While addressing the students, he pointed out one of the things needed to earn awards like the Blue Ribbon designation is a committed principal.

"All across the country they said 'Who are the best elementary school principals in the whole United States of America?' Anne Marie Covey!" Barrasso said, getting cheers from all the students and staff.

Just a few weeks ago, Covey traveled to Washington, D.C. for two days of events honoring the 41 principals from across the nation and abroad chosen as 2022 NAESP National Distinguished Principals (NDPs) by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).

The principals were able to network with one another, according to Covey, as well as visit the US Department of Education and heard US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona speak.

"It was an amazing experience," Covey said. "We came together in Washington and were able to talk about what goes on in schools across our country that makes them great schools."

While Covey is always looking for even more ways to improve education and help students, the awards both she and the school have received show the caliber of the school, according to Senator Barrasso, and show that education in Wyoming is valued and respected.

"You guys have the best opportunity for success any place in America," Barrasso told the Washington students.


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