Local students are standing a little taller after Rep. Salud Carbajal paid a visit to the campus at Santa Ynez Valley Charter School Friday morning to present a flag flown at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., and deliver a special message in recognition of the school's 21st year.

"It means the world to us for Salud Carbajal to bestow this honor and share his story with our students," said John Dewey, executive director of San Ynez Valley Charter School.

In addition to the new flag, Dewey said that the congressman also presented the school with a congressional certificate and imparted a personal message on perseverance to students, faculty and parents that referenced his own journey to becoming the U.S. representative for California's 24th congressional district.

“This visit and congressional recognition is a testament to all the hard work and dedication of our teachers, staff and parent volunteers over many years," Dewey said.

Carbajal also accepted a gift — a framed photo of the whole student body — from eighth grade student leaders as a token of gratitude.

The flag, which was flown for the first time on campus before attendees, will be used daily during the school's reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance.

"There is so much good news to share about our school," Dewey said. "The congressman has helped raise our profile and instilled a renewed sense of spirit and pride. I’m so proud of everything our school has accomplished and of all the phenomenal students and families that make up our community.”

Lisa André covers lifestyle and local news for Santa Ynez Valley News and Lompoc Record, editions of the Santa Maria Times.

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