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VCS Received 9 Blue Ribbon Awards!

February 5, 2021

VANCE COUNTY SCHOOLS earns statewide recognition for outstanding communication


The North Carolina School Public Relations Association (NCSPRA) has honored VANCE COUNTY SCHOOLS for excellence in communications. Vance County Schools earned a total of 9 Blue Ribbon Awards for outstanding and effective communication. NCSPRA presented the awards during a virtual ceremony on February 5, 2021. A Blue Ribbon Award is the highest honor a school district can receive from NCSPRA.

Vance County Schools received 5 Gold level awards for outstanding Marketing, Photography, Publications, Graphic Design and Electronic Media. The district was also recognized with 1 Silver level award in Electronic Media and 3 Bronze level awards for Special Events and Digital Media Engagement.

Ken Derksen, NCSPRA President and Communications & Public Relations Officer for Wayne County Public Schools, said the work of the award winners exemplifies the high standards and qualities members demonstrate in their daily school communications programs. "Blue Ribbon Awards are among the highest and most prestigious honors that a member of our organization can attain,” Derksen said.  “I congratulate Vance County Schools for achieving this statewide recognition as a Blue Ribbon Award winner and for the superior work being accomplished in the area of school communications and public relations.”

NCSPRA recognizes outstanding communications through its Blue Ribbon Awards program each year.  Vance County Schools was one of 41 school districts statewide to receive a Blue Ribbon Award. This year’s submission categories included: Marketing, Digital Media Engagement, Electronic Media, Excellence in Writing, Publications, Image/Graphic Design, Photography, and Special Projects and Events. The Georgia School Public Relations Association judged NCSPRA’s 2020 Blue Ribbon entries.

During the Blue Ribbon Awards ceremony, State Superintendent Catherine Truitt paid tribute to award winners and thanked all North Carolina school districts for their efforts to effectively communicate during difficult times. Truitt praised the districts and their communications teams for the powerful way they have responded to help parents, students, and staff during the COVID crisis. "You have conquered the digital landscape in order to meet the ever-changing demands of this pandemic,” Truitt shared in her video message. “You have mastered the use of social media channels, video messages, and email sending platforms, and you have remained vigilant in the face of an overwhelming demand for answers. Most importantly you all have been steadfast in your determination to ensure that questions posed by parents and teachers have received the answers they require and deserve.” Truitt called the work of the winners “exceptional,” and thanked them for their dedication and for helping to shape the communications landscape.

Aarika Sandlin, Public Information Officer for Vance County Schools, shared “It is an honor for Vance County Schools to be recognized at the state level for communications. We strive to keep our students, parents, staff and community informed. For the state to recognize those efforts truly makes us Vance County Schools Proud!”

NCSPRA is a statewide professional organization serving more than 150 members. Its mission is to build support for public education through well-planned and responsible public relations. For more information, please visit the NCSPRA Facebook page or





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