Orange and black balloons and a sea of smiling faces could be seen in Live Oak Middle School's Quad area Tuesday afternoon as the school received high honors.

Named one of 22 schools in California selected to receive the "Schools To Watch" distinction, it was definitely a day of celebration.

Principal Parm Virk welcomed the guests, staff and students along with Vice Principal Erin Walton noting that everyone has one thing in common.

"We are all human. We are people with different likes, we like different music, different sports. We're all different but we go to school here. Be kind to others and encourage others to be kind, If you do you will make the world a better place. Pick a kindness to do once a day, 365 days a year and you will make a difference," Walton stated.

Pointing out three large words painted on a wall in the quad, "Responsibility, Respect and Pride," Walton told students to remember what the words mean and said if they followed the three words they would be successful.

ASB President George Enriquez and ASB Treasurer Arshpreet Kaur, both very active in the leadership class spoke to the students encouraging them to make the most of their education.

Mayor Aleks Tica was the next to address the students at the podium, expressing his pride in the school district all of his family attended over the years.

"I was a student here 14 years ago and I see familiar faces here," he stated as he looked out at the crowd. "I am proud to represent this city and this community for this big honor. The two student speakers spoke so well today. They were amazing. You are our future. When you go on in your life, whether as a fireman, a policeman or maybe in the military, remember you represent the Live Oak community," Mayor Tica said.

Director of the "Schools To Watch" Program in California Carole Carlson, on hand to present the special banner to the school told those in attendance she and her team were very impressed with the school as they conducted their search for the top 22 schools in California

"Many schools were told they were not sufficient. It is really an honor to be back here today presenting this award to you one of 22 schools in the state, to receive this honor out of 1,300 schools in the state. to date. There are more than 23,000 schools in the United States. Out of more than 23,000 middle schools in the country you became one of currently only 465 middle grade schools in the United States to become a School To Watch," Carlson stated.

"You are one of only 70 new schools to be identified this year in the United States. This resulted in your school being honored earlier this month in Sacramento by the State Department of Education, The League of Middle Schools and the Middle School Alliance, and honored again in Washington D.C., this June by the National Forum for Middle Grades Reform," Carlson said.

Carlson stated the team saw state-of-the-art instruction, saw a school with technology and a huge improvement in access.

"We saw students who work together. We saw you in groups, helping and being kind and when we questioned you about your teachers we got very nice comments. Your teachers work with you before school, during lunch, after school and this is only good if you take advantage of it. This school will continue to improve just like you. You have a very active community which is very excited and willing to help you to succeed," she stated.

Carlson ended by stating, "It is an honor to present you with this banner proclaiming you to be a California School To Watch and a National School to Watch! Congratulations!"