Feb 23, 2010
Schools compete for the honor of having a U.S. President for a commencement speaker
At the beginning of the school year, President Obama encouraged students across the country to take responsibility for their education, study hard and graduate from high school, and now he wants to see the results.
To that end, he is launching the “2010 Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge” that invites the nation's public high schools to compete for the opportunity to welcome the President as their commencement speaker for the class of 2010.
This challenge is designed to recognize public high schools with effective strategies for reducing the number of high school dropouts, promoting college and career readiness, and encouraging college enrollment in support of meeting the President's goal of producing the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.
In order to participate in the competition, schools will be required to submit an online application consisting of four short essay questions that demonstrate how the school successfully prepares students for high school graduation and college and career success. The deadline to submit applications is March 15, 2010.
The application’s four essay questions focus on demonstrating how the school is helping prepare students to meet the President’s 2020 goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. Applications will be judged based on the school’s performance and dedication to providing students an excellent education that will prepare them to graduate ready for college and career choices. Each question must be answered in full to qualify and data that substantiates each answer is strongly encouraged.
In addition to the required essay responses, applicants are invited to submit the following optional supplemental materials:
•A video -- no more than 2 minutes in length -- showing the school’s culture and character and highlighting how it is a model of educational success for other high schools around the country.
•Supplemental data on key indicators such as attendance, student achievement, graduation rates and where available, college enrollment rates. This data may be presented in the form of tables, graphs or spreadsheets and should be used to help the school make the most compelling arguments possible.
Applications must be completed by students and submitted by a high school’s principal using the Commencement Challenge Application. Each school may submit only one application. Following the application deadline, six finalists will be selected by the White House and Department of Education. These schools will then be featured on the White House website and the public will have an opportunity to vote for the three schools they think best meet the President’s goal. The President will select a national winner from these three finalists and visit the winning high school to deliver the commencement address to the class of 2010.