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### Top Education Award Winners: 20 Inland Empire Schools Recognized

Twenty campuses in the Inland Empire have received the prestigious honor of being named California Distinguished Schools for the year 2024.

In Riverside County, the Murrieta Valley schools celebrated as three of their campuses were recipients of this award, while Riverside Unified proudly announced that two of their schools made the list. Moving on to San Bernardino County, both the Chaffey Joint Union and Hesperia school districts had two campuses each that were recognized.

Statewide, a total of 293 middle and high schools were acknowledged, as stated in a news release from the California Department of Education. The announcement of the winners took place on Thursday, February 29.

The distinguished schools were commended for their efforts in two main categories. Some were specifically recognized for their success in narrowing the achievement gaps among students from disadvantaged backgrounds, while others were lauded for their outstanding student performance.

Etiwanda High School in Rancho Cucamonga, where seniors graduated on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, was one of the schools honored as a 2024 California Distinguished School. It stands as one of the two schools in the Chaffey Joint Union High School District to achieve this accolade, alongside Alta Loma High School.

Similarly, Vista Murrieta High School in Murrieta Valley Unified School District was acknowledged as a 2024 California Distinguished School, with students crossing Clinton Keith Road on Thursday, August 11, 2022. Murrieta Mesa High School was also among the recognized schools in the same district.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, emphasized the vital role that exceptional middle and high schools play in shaping the future of young individuals in his statement.

The award ceremony to honor the winners is scheduled to take place at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim on May 3.

Local school officials expressed their delight at being recognized for their outstanding achievements. Charles Neighbours, the principal of Grand Terrace High School, shared his pride in the school’s accomplishment, highlighting the dedication of the students and staff in upholding the motto of being GREAT every day.

In Moreno Valley, the district celebrated its second school, North Ridge Elementary School, to receive this prestigious award back in 2019. Interim Superintendent Robert Verdi expressed immense pride in this achievement, emphasizing the school’s unwavering commitment to its students and their bright futures.

The list of California Distinguished Schools for 2024 in the Inland Empire includes the following campuses:

Riverside County

  • John F. Kennedy High School, Corona-Norco Unified School District
  • Western Center Academy, Hemet Unified School District
  • Moreno Valley High School, Moreno Valley Unified School District
  • Dorothy McElhinney Middle School, Murrieta Valley Unified School District
  • Murrieta Mesa High School, Murrieta Valley Unified School District
  • Vista Murrieta High School, Murrieta Valley Unified School District
  • Cathedral City High School, Palm Springs Unified School District
  • Amelia Earhart Middle School, Riverside Unified School District
  • Martin Luther King Jr. High School, Riverside Unified School District
  • Temecula Middle School, Temecula Valley Unified School District

San Bernardino County

  • Melva Davis Academy of Excellence, Adelanto Elementary School District
  • Alta Loma Junior High School, Alta Loma School District
  • Alta Loma High School, Chaffey Joint Union High School District
  • Etiwanda High School, Chaffey Joint Union High School District
  • Woodcrest Junior High School, Chino Valley Unified School District
  • Grand Terrace High School at the Ray Abril Jr. Educational Complex, Colton Joint Unified School District
  • Day Creek Intermediate School, Etiwanda School District
  • Hesperia High School, Hesperia Unified School District
  • Oak Hills High School, Hesperia Unified School District
  • University Preparatory School, Victor Valley Union High School District