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Your Turn to Weigh In on the Commencement Challenge

The White House and Department of Education kick off the final phase of the Race to the Top Commencement Challenge – your input.

The White House and Department of Education are kicking off the final phase of the Race to the Top Commencement Challenge – your input. 

Starting today at you can view a three minute video and short essay from each of the six high school finalists and rate them from 1-5.  President Obama will choose from one of the top three publicly rated schools to visit and deliver the commencement address this spring.

The Commencement Challenge launched on February 19th, when the White House and Department of Education invited public high schools across the country to submit applications to have President Obama speak at their graduation. Over 1,000 high schools submitted applications, demonstrating how they are making significant strides on personal responsibility, academic excellence and college readiness, and how they are working toward the President’s national goal of having the most college graduates by 2020.

The six finalists, Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park, KS, Clark Montessori in Cincinnati, OH, Denver School of Science and Technology in Denver, Colorado, Environmental Charter High School in Lawndale, CA, Kalamazoo Central High School in Kalamazoo, MI and MAST Academy in Miami, FL, were announced on April 9th. Over the last two weeks, the Get Schooled Foundation, which includes founding partners Viacom and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, worked with each school to create short videos highlighting how the school best fulfills the Commencement Challenge’s criteria.  Starting today, you can watch the videos, read the essays and submit your ratings.  Your top-three rated schools will go to the President and from there  he will select one national winner.

The Commencement Challenge highlighted stories of success in schools across the country and I am especially proud of these six finalists for their dedication to producing and promoting academic excellence. Visit anytime between 8 AM EDT on Monday, April 26th through 11:59 PM EDT on Thursday, April 29, and help decide the best high school for the President’s first annual high school commencement address.

Arne Duncan is the Secretary of Education