Students and teachers at Henry A. Wise Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro will return to school in celebration mode later this month.
Wise received the Best High School award from the Steve Harvey Neighborhood Awards during a star-studded program at Philips Arena in Atlanta on Saturday.
William Blake, an assistant principal, and former principal Carletta Marrow, who was recently named an instructional director for the school system, accepted the award from actors David Mann, Tracey Ellis Ross and Michael Jai White.
Wise, which was named for the first African American doctor in the county who practiced at Prince George’s Hospital, opened in 2006. In the past three years, it has decreased its ninth grade retention rate by 15 percent and captured two state championships in football and boy’s basketball.
“It means a lot to be recognized to the nation for what we have done in our short eight years since we’ve been in existence,” said Blake, who nominated the school for the award.
The award recipients are chosen by popular vote, and Wise received more votes than four other high schools in Atlanta, Detroit and Portsmouth, Va.
The award show, which featured performances by Johnny Gill, India.Arie, Tamela Mann, Chrisette Michele, Anthony Hamilton and Robin Thicke, honored local businesses, religious and neighborhood leaders, churches and high schools for their contributions as well as for their excellence within their own neighborhood, according to comedian and radio host Steve Harvey’s Web site.
Blake said a celebration will be held for teachers when they return Monday, and a special event has been planned for students Aug. 29, the first Friday they are back in school.