The honor is given to 11 schools in each state from Connecticut to Maine, said NELMS Executive Director Brenda Needham.
Needham and school officials unrolled the banner Friday morning in the school auditorium.
Principal Stafford Thomas thanked the students and school staff. "Proud is how you should feel to be a member of Hillcrest," Thomas said. "Today we are here to be recognized."
"This is an award for your teachers and administration, but mostly for you," Needham told the 770 students gathered in the auditorium. "It is a reflection of your hard work."
The school applied for the award and was reviewed for about a day in May, Thomas said.
He added that he has been leading the school for three years, and his last school in Mystic received the same honor.
Other honored schools are
- Jared Eliot Middle School
Clinton, CT (2012) NEW