2021 National Blue Ribbon School

Blue Ribbon 2021 Letter




Judge Memorial Earns National Blue Ribbon School Award, Overcoming the Pandemic, in School’s Centennial Year


Judge Memorial Catholic High School has been selected as a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School, regarded as the nation’s most prestigious academic recognition, coming as the school celebrates its centennial year.


Tuesday’s announcement of the 2021 Blue Ribbon Schools, made by US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, marks just the second time since 1998 that a Utah high school has received the award since Judge Memorial last earned Blue Ribbon status in 1998.


“We are thrilled to be honored as a National Blue Ribbon School for the fourth time,” said Principal Patrick Lambert. “It is especially meaningful coming during our centennial as we celebrate 100 years of excellence while continuing to innovate through the challenges of the global pandemic.”


The distinction positions Judge Memorial as Utah’s only four-time Blue Ribbon winner and the only high school in the state to earn the honor more than once. Since National Blue Ribbon Schools launched in 1982, Judge has also earned the recognition in 1984, 1989 and 1998.


Positioned in the urban heart of Utah’s capital city and founded by immigrants-turned-entrepreneurs, Judge Memorial combines a Catholic faith tradition with 21st-century innovation to foster a diverse and inclusive school community dedicated to scholarship, service and spiritual growth. The school’s charism of Cura Personalis translates into a holistic approach that invests in students’ intellectual, social, physical and spiritual development to empower graduates to become builders of a more just society.


“The coveted National Blue Ribbon School Award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content,” according to the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program. “The National Blue Ribbon School flag gracing an entry or flying overhead is a widely recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning.”


“Thank you all a million times for the powerful voices that you create in my children,” Judge parent Robin Harmston recently wrote to faculty. “I can never express how grateful I am for the time and passion that you put in and for being at Judge.”


Despite the perils and unpredictability of the pandemic, Judge Memorial remains one of the only high schools in Utah not forced to go fully virtual during COVID-19. Devoted faculty and counselors continue to deliver robust college preparatory instruction combined with social and emotional supports.


“This award would not be possible without the dedication of our faculty and families who combine to make Judge Memorial a special environment,” Principal Lambert added. “Our commitment over the next 100 years is to deliver for our students so they’re empowered to become builders of a more just society.”


To be a Blue Ribbon honoree, schools are graded on overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.


“This year’s cohort of honorees demonstrates what is possible when committed educators and school leaders create vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school cultures where rich teaching and learning can flourish,” Cardona said during Tuesday’s announcement. “I commend all our Blue Ribbon honorees for working to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional and mental health needs. In the face of unprecedented circumstances, you found creative ways to engage, care for, protect, and teach our children. Blue Ribbon Schools have so much to offer and can serve as a model for other schools and communities so that we can truly build back better.”