This article originally appeared in the Oneonta Daily Star.

Cherry Valley-Springfield Central School District has been named a “School of Distinction” by the nonprofit College For Every Student (CFES) in its Brilliant Pathways program.

CVS is one of 28 schools in the United States and Ireland to receive the recognition for the 2017-18 school year.

Rick Dalton, Chief Executive Officer of CFES, called Cherry Valley a “global model” for its development of programming focused on college and career readiness.

“It is successfully creating a culture of college and career readiness and is helping its students develop the Essential Skills they need to succeed in the 21st Century workforce,” Dalton continued in a statement announcing the distinction.

“We decided this is something our students needed,” Superintendent TheriJo Climenhaga told The Daily Star on Thursday. “We were ecstatic to receive the honor.”

The school instituted a peer-mentorship program between grade levels to prepare and engage students. Fourth graders read to kindergartners and tenth graders mentor fifth graders at different times each day. Climenhaga said the administration is trying to develop peer relationships by taking advantage of the preK-12 building of 478 students.

Secondary guidance counselor Ricki Mulvihill oversees the program. It was her first year on the job and Climenhaga said she “took this and ran with it.”

Funding from CFES paid for multiple “career cafes” in which middle school students spent lunches learning about various careers from professionals in the field. Industries profiled included working with animals and health related careers. Additionally, the district takes high school students on trips to regional colleges such as State University of New York at Oneonta and Hartwick College.

Climenhaga said the school plans to develop these programs more in the coming years as students have become engaged with the program.

“It’s a great thing for the kids to know that this is important and we’re trying to work with them,” she said.

CFES is a nonprofit organization that works with underserved youth to develop college readiness.

Schools who received the award will be honored at a conference in Burlington, Vt., on Nov. 3.