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Race to the Top Commencement Challenge Finalists Announced

Today, we announced the Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge finalists. Find out which schools are still in the running to have President Obama give their commencement address.

Drum roll please …

This afternoon, we announced, in coordination with the Department of Education, the top six finalists for the first annual Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge:

  • Blue Valley Northwest High School (Overland Park, Kansas)
  • Clark Montessori Junior High and High School (Cincinnati, Ohio)
  • Denver School of Science and Technology (Denver, Colorado)
  • Environmental Charter High School (Lawndale, California)
  • Kalamazoo Central High School (Kalamazoo, Michigan)
  • MAST Academy (Miami, Florida)

We launched the Commencement Challenge this past February -- inviting high schools across the country to compete to have President Obama speak at their graduation.  Today’s finalists were chosen for best demonstrating their dedication to academic excellence and preparing students to graduate ready for college and career choices.

Yesterday afternoon, I watched my colleagues Lauren Paige and Laura Schifter call each of the six finalists to share the good news.  Take a look at some of their – let’s say – more than enthusiastic responses:


As part of today’s announcement, President Obama gave special thanks to all the high schools that submitted applications:

I thank all of the schools that submitted applications for the first Commencement Challenge and I congratulate the six finalists for demonstrating effective approaches to teaching, learning and preparing students to graduate ready for college and a career.  The quality of the applications we received is a testament to the exciting work happening in schools throughout the country, and I look forward to visiting and speaking at the winning school later this spring.

So, what happens next?  You get to vote.  In the coming weeks, we’ll feature the six finalists on and let you vote for your favorites.  The top three schools will then be sent to the President for the final selection. 

Stay tuned to so you can help choose the winning high school.