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UCPS Communications team earns statewide recognition for outstanding communication

The Union County Public Schools Communications Team won 22 Blue Ribbon Awards for outstanding and effective communication during the North Carolina School Public Relations Association’s (NCSPRA) ceremony, Feb. 9. Blue Ribbon Awards are the highest honor a school district can receive from NCSPRA, which is the state’s leading organization for school communications and public relations professionals. UCPS was one of 35 school districts statewide to receive Blue Ribbon Awards.

“I am extremely proud of our communications team. They produce phenomenal and professional work that keeps communication flowing throughout our district and community. I applaud this team for these awards and their leadership, and we are blessed to have them as valued members of TeamUCPS,” said Superintendent Dr. Andrew Houlihan.

Valerie Newton, NCSPRA President and Director of Communication and Family Engagement for Sampson County Schools, said the award winners' work exemplifies the high standards of the North Carolina School Public Relations Association and the outstanding work of its members.

“We are extremely proud of the work being done by NCSPRA members across the state, and the Blue Ribbon Award winners have demonstrated excellence in all facets of communication. Their expertise and professionalism in the field of communications highlight the superior work being done by North Carolina public schools, and their accomplishments deserve recognition. I congratulate all of our winners for the outstanding work they do to support students and teachers and promote public education.”   

UCPS received a gold-level award for outstanding marketing for NextStop: Teach UCPS. The judges praised the work, “The campaign was very well done and the use and partnership with local media outlets was very impressive.”

Another gold-level award for excellence in writing was for Meet Barbara Selby: the lead custodian who keeps Rea View Elementary shining. The judges said, “Excellently crafted with compelling storytelling, and it shares a deeply moving story of an unsung hero within the schools.”

In the digital media engagement category, the Reel #UCPSGrads scored high with the judges, also earning a gold award. Thirty-two fun Instagram reels were produced celebrating graduating seniors. These reels showcased students engaging in a sport or academic activity, ultimately transforming into a graduate wearing academic regalia by the end of the video.

The UCPS team received two Blue Ribbon awards for Digital Media Engagement, three for Image/Graphic Design, four for Excellence in Writing, one for Marketing, nine for Photography, two for Electronic Media and one for Special Events/Programs.

The awards and the level of recognition are listed below:

NCSPRA is a statewide professional organization serving more than 175 members. Its mission is to build support for public education through well-planned and responsible public relations. For more information, please visit the NCSPRA Facebook page or

View the images from the photography category.