The Excellence in Education Banquets celebrates academic achievement. Students honored are in the top 5-percent of their class academically during the first three years of their high school career. Students are recognized for their selection as National Merit Scholarship semifinalists and National Hispanic Recognition Scholar. Also honored at the event are the inspirational teachers that helped the students realize this academic success. More than 1,000 people participate in this annual recognition event.
The idea of celebrating excellence in education was introduced in 1983 by Al Sowards, who then served as LCPS social studies, gifted program supervisor. The first banquet was held at Leesburg Baptist Church with 18 students being honored. Dinner was served on plates borrowed from Loudoun County High School; Sowards set the tables and washed the dishes afterward. The banquet has changed over the years, but continues to honor the tradition of celebrating excellence.