Memphis School Wins ‘Race to the Top’ Competition, Obama Commencement Speech

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Finally some much welcomed good news out of a very nervous Memphis.

Out of hundreds of applicants, the city’s Booker T. Washington High School has won the 2011 Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge, meaning President Obama will give the commencement address at its graduation ceremony.

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The contest invited high schools nationwide to demonstrate how they could prepare their students for college and a career. Finalists were selected based on not just academic performance, but also how well they engaged students and progress in how students were prepared for a post-high school world.

Rural Washington’s Bridgeport High School, which NewsFeed reported on last week, was one of the finalists.

Booker T. Washington, which finished ahead of six finalists, sits in a low-income area and had a graduation rate of 55% in 2007, but that rate rose to 81.6% in 2010. Its efforts included creating separate academies for ninth grade boys and girls and improving student-teacher relationships.

The commencement date still has yet to be announced, according to a Department of Education statement. See the video the school submitted above.

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