BURWELL — The entire Longhorn community is invited to celebrate the Burwell Elementary School being named a National Blue Ribbon School, cheer on the football team and help fight cancer all in the same night.

Burwell Elementary Principal Gordon Goodman said a tailgate party before Thursday’s football game against Clearwater/Orchard will be in honor of the elementary award. The celebration will be from 5 to 6:30 p.m., with the football game starting at 7.

Burwell Elementary School is one of 286 schools across the United States to be honored as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2013. Ord Elementary School is another. The schools were recognized as “Exemplary High Performing,” in which schools are noted to be among their state’s highest performing schools, as measured by state assessments called NeSA tests.

“This is not just a school award, in our opinion,” Goodman said as to why they were celebrating with the entire Burwell community. “The community commits to us with Longhorn Pride.”

He noted that without Burwell’s continual support with time and resources, the elementary students would not have been able to perform at the level that they did.

“There are 98,817 public schools in the United States. Our elementary school is in the top 286 across the nation. This is a huge honor for our students, staff and community. We truly are the best of the best. And when we did good things, good things happened!”

Goodman said they plan to serve hamburgers and hot dogs at the event. A slideshow depicting students and student events will run during the meal.

They also will be selling blue and purple balloons — blue for “Blue Ribbon School” and purple for the Longhorns — with proceeds going toward the Cancer Crushers team raising money for breast cancer research. The balloons are to be released after the first Longhorn touchdown Thursday night.

A tag will be attached to each balloon, not only telling about the recognition, but also pointing the finder of the balloon toward a website where they can log the location they found the balloon.

“We plan on creating a map to see how far they traveled,” Goodman said.

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