Fresno’s University High School awarded National Blue Ribbon award

Local News

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – A Fresno high school has received a prestigious national award.

University High School was one of just 325 schools in the country and 28 within California to be named a 2021 Blue Ribbon School.

When the school day is over, the music is just beginning at University High School.

The free public charter school is nestled in the middle of Fresno State University, allowing students a unique opportunity to earn college credits.

Students are selected through a lottery process with the only requirement of having two years of music experience. 

“I found out this summer we were receiving this award, so I had to keep it under wraps this whole time,” said principal and superintendent, Jeffie Esparza-Hickman.

Esparza-Hickman broke the news Tuesday to students and staff that University High is a 2021 Blue Ribbon School.

“The reason I applied for it was that we needed some positivity, you know last year was really rough. We needed that positive reinforcement that what we are doing here is good and what the students are doing here, they’re doing this hard work and it’s wonderful they do such a great job,” Hickman said.

“I think it’s cool to go to school with people who want to do the same thing I want to do,” explained University High senior, Grace Lott.

Lott wants to major in musical theatre. The rigorous curriculum keeps her at school until five every day.

“We are a family. We help each other out. When there is a need, we just take care of it,” said teacher and math department chair, Michelle Hayden.

Hayden was chosen to join Esparza-Hickman in Washington D.C. for the Blue Ribbon Award ceremony in November.

The honor, not only making the University High community proud, but all of Fresno County.

“The national blue ribbon schools affirms what we have known for a lot of years and that is the campus is filled with inspiration,” said Dr. Michele Cantwell-Copher, assistant superintendent for the Office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools.

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