May 4, 2010
President Obama to speak at Kalamazoo Central High School graduation
It’s not often you get the President of the United States to speak at your high school graduation, but the seniors at Kalamazoo Central High School will have President Barack Obama speak at their graduation.
Kalamazoo Central is the winner of the “2010 Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge.” Kalamazoo Central was one of just six high schools in the nation – the only one in Michigan – selected to compete in the Race to the Top Challenge. Voting took place Between April 26th and April 29th, and more than 170,00 people weighed in on short videos and essays from the six finalists.
“I congratulate our winner, Kalamazoo Central High School, and all of our six finalists for their innovative and effective approaches to teaching, learning and preparing students to graduate ready for college and a career,” said President Obama in the press release announcing the winner. “I look forward to visiting and speaking at Kalamazoo Central High School later this spring.”
Obama launched the “2010 Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge” in February 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 to encourage students across the country to take responsibility for their education, study hard and graduate from high school.
In order to participate in the competition, schools had 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. Following the application deadline, six finalists were selected by the White House and Department of Education from 1,000 applications, and those schools were featured on the White House website and the public had an opportunity to vote for the three schools they think best meet the President’s goal.
Kalamazoo students went all out to get people to vote for their entry, including holding rallies and even going door to door to solicit votes.
In recognition of the extraordinary achievements and outstanding efforts by each of the six finalists, the Obama Administration will work to provide a Cabinet secretary or senior administration official to deliver the commencement address at each of the five schools not selected as the national winner.