On June 17, the National Aquarium recognized students, educators, caregivers and families who persevered and found scholarly success online, in the classroom, or both during the ups and downs of the 2020-2021 school year. Formerly known as the annual Grade A Student Night, this year transformed into an all-out School Shell-ebration.
Grade A Student Night was developed by the National Aquarium to honor the outstanding academic achievements of Baltimore area students. During a year where failure rates are skyrocketing, the Aquarium sought another way to celebrate all kids attending school, rather than relying on report cards as the sole measuring stick.
"This school year was full of achievement and resiliency. Therefore, we wanted to evolve this event to celebrate everyone who contributed to pulling off a school year like no other," said Jenny Hamilton, said director of community partnerships and strategy. "Academic experts from Baltimore City Public Schools validated this shift, noting there are so many measures of growth and success that are deserving of a fun, free night out at the Aquarium."
School Shell-ebration provided complimentary access to the National Aquarium for sea-star students, educators, caregivers, and their families. Guests were able to enjoy all Aquarium exhibits after hours, while still following COVID-19 protocols. The sold-out event included shell-ebratory moments throughout the exhibit path, from an arrival moment outside by Baltimore's performance art group Fluid Movement, in their signature creative aquatic-themed costumes, to dozens of Aquarium staff cheering and applauding guests for their inspiring perseverance and grit that carried them through the school year.
School Shell-ebration is proudly supported by Pepsi.
In addition to School Shell-ebration, the National Aquarium offers several other community programs throughout the year.