The staff and students at Desert Vista High School in Ahwatukee Foothills celebrated two awards of distinction at a school assembly on Tuesday.

Desert Vista recently received the A+ School of Excellence award by the Arizona Educational Foundation (AEF) and Dr. Anna Battle was named State School Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

"Desert Vista has a pretty good idea of what it takes to achieve excellence," Bobbie O'Boyle, executive director of AEF, said to the school on Tuesday. "This award not only goes to the staff and students of Desert Vista, but also to the entire community."

Mayoral candidate Greg Stanton, current Tempe Union High School District Superintendent Steven Adolph and his incoming replacement, Kenneth Baca, were also in attendance for the award ceremony in the school's gym.

"It was a wonderful experience," Battle said in an email. "The teachers, students, staff, administration and parent organizations of Desert Vista all were represented and truly excited about the accomplishments of this amazing institution. God has blessed me to serve such an amazing community."

The A+ School of Excellence was awarded to 25 schools in Arizona for 2011.

The distinction acknowledges the school for its success in a wide range of subjects and programs.

"One of the things that made Desert Vista stand out was their advancement of dual-enrollment with local colleges," O'Boyle said. "They are ranked No. 1 in Arizona for the amount of National Merit Scholars. I think I have the best job in the whole world because I get to promote excellence through the (AEF)."

Mountain Pointe High School received the award last year, making Ahwatukee's two high schools the only two schools in TUHSD to do so.

The recognition is good for three years and the school must reapply afterward. Desert Vista also received a check for $500 from the AEF.

"I think as you go forward in higher education, you will remember this," Battle told the crowd on Tuesday. "This is a big deal."

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