SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Students at a grade school celebrated their top national honor today from the U.S. Department of Education. Fred Assam Elementary, in the Brandon Valley School District, is one of three South Dakota schools to receive the Blue Ribbon Award.

From balloons, to streamers to T-shirts and even a hairdo, Fred Assam Elementary was festooned in blue to celebrate its designation as a national Blue Ribbon School.

“Like a Blue Ribbon school in the nation. It really matters to us,” 3rd grader Henry Anshutz said.

The school earned the award because its students have scored in the top 15% in the nation in math and English scores.

“And some of our scores are even in the top-ten percent, so it is amazing. We have done well at Fred Assam Elementary,” principal Susan Foster said.

“It was a lot of state testing and it was a lot of thinking going into it, a lot of typing, I am saying,” 4th grader Nolan Guetter said.

Foster has been in education for 41 years. She had planned on retiring last year, but when the South Dakota Department of Education nominated her school for a Blue Ribbon award, she had to stick around for one more year.

“So that was just kind of a no-brainer. I was back for one more year. But this is it now. I’m going to retire this year,” Foster said.

As Foster ends her career on a high note, district leaders say the award is a reflection of the school’s commitment to achievement and growth. An honor that came with a lot of hard work, and not just out of the blue.

“Every day’s a celebration at Fred Assam Elementary. Or as we say, Fred ‘Awesome’ Elementary,” Foster said.

Bridgewater-Emery Elementary and Castlewood High School are this year’s other two Blue Ribbon Schools in the state.