Morristown (WVLT) - Some area high schools are listed among the best in America.
In U.S. news and world reports first-ever such survey, nine local high schools are among the top 8%.
Volunteer TV's Jim Freeman visited two of the award winning schools today and found they're rivals in more ways than one.
"We are big rivals with East and West as everybody knows." Says Morristown East High School student Machela Worthington.
Though they're big time competitors, Morristown East and Morristown West high schools now share more than just a football field.
They share the title of being two of America's best schools. Now, Hamblen County's two high schools are ranked among the top eight-percent in the entire country by U.S. News and World Report.
Morristown West High School teacher Deborah Scarlett says, "It's very collaborative. It's a very collaborative process."
Deborah Scarlett says it provides a most impressive stamp of approval: "This award validates everything that I do that I come in to do and all of my co-workers do."
To paraphrase the report's criteria, the selection process determined if all students were performing statistically better than their peers across the state in reading and math. And how are the least advantaged students were performing better than similar students across the state. Advanced Placement testing was also used as the benchmark for success.
But what is it that makes these two schools stand out among almost 20-thousand other U.S. high schools?
West High student Tim Woodard says, "Well, our parents and teachers are the most amazing people on earth."
Morristown East High School student Machela Worthington says, "I would call them superstars. They're always there to look up to."
In addition to superstar teachers, Hamblen County School Superintendent Dr. Dale Lynch says, "The community support that we have from parents from our county commission and our city council is what makes our school system very special."
But it's not all work and no play.
Cathy McClellan teaches at West High School and says, "We still have a lot of fun. We have our sports. We have our clubs. Our kids are very involved."
Combined enrollment at the two Hamblen County High Schools is more than 2,800
Also on the list of U.S. News and World reports top high schools are Oakdale, Sunbright, South Greene, Oneida, Cosby, Clarkrange and Gatlinburg-Pittman High School.