GASTONIA, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Gastonia’s Highland School of Technology is one of eight schools in North Carolina to achieve a National Blue Ribbon School distinction.

The National Blue Ribbon School Award is given annually by the U.S. Department of Education, and it is one of the highest distinctions a school can receive. 

Three Charlotte-area schools picked up the honor. The other Charlotte-area schools include Jay Robinson Middle School (1,343 students) in Charlotte and Odell Elementary (924 students) in Concord.

The 506-student high school is one of 353 in the country to earn the award this year. Highland won its first National Blue Ribbon School award in 2017. When it first opened in 2000, it was the county’s only magnet school.

The Gastonia school will celebrate its honor on Tuesday, Nov. 11 at 2 p.m.

This is the fifth National Blue Ribbon School distinction (and the second in two years) for Gaston County Schools since the recognition program began in 1982. In addition to Highland earning the award twice, W.A. Bess Elementary School in Gastonia was selected as a National Blue Ribbon School in 2006 and 2022. The former Arlington Elementary School was named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2003 (Arlington consolidated with Sadler Elementary School when it opened in August 2004).