Havre de Grace High School Principal Jon Andes didn't exactly say "I told you so."
But you'd understand if he did.
Last week he learned his school was one of eight schools in Maryland selected to compete for the prestigious national School Recognition Program.
"I think for some unknown reason there's been an assumption in the county that Route 40 corridor schools did not have the kind of reputation academically that other schools in the county have," said Andes. "It's simply not true."
Andes hopes last week's honor of being chosen as one of the state's top schools out of a field of 26 nominees will change the misconception.
"When I became principal two years ago, I decided our goal was to make it an outstanding school," he said.
"This accomplishment means we're on the threshold of achieving this goal. You know in 'Mary Poppins' when they're up on the ceiling with Uncle Albert? That's where I am right now."
The selection as one of the state's best schools is a step in the national School Recognition Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.
To enter the competition, schools responded to a 45 question survey that asked for information on a gamut of areas, from statistics on absenteeism and drop-out rates to descriptions of programs to improve literacy, to efforts to fight student drug and alcohol abuse.
John Bell, president of Havre de Grace's senior class, said students were thrilled at the news.
"The students here have always been pretty upset with the image the school has in the county -- you know, the 'Havre dis-Grace' image," said Bell, who helped prepare the school's application for the competition. "Now people don't have no choice but to look at us in a different light. Now when people consider sending their children to John Carroll, they'll have to think twice."