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Commencement Challenge Deadline Extended to March 11 – Have You Applied Yet?

The deadline for the Race to the Top Commencement Challenge has been extended to March 11, 2011, and applying is easy. Don't miss your chance to have President Obama deliver your commencement address!

The Race to the Top Commencement Challenge is offering schools and students the chance of a lifetime. We’re asking that public high schools tell us how they’re preparing students for college and a career, and one lucky school will have President Obama as a commencement speaker.

The deadline for the Commencement Challenge has been extended to March 11, 2011, and applying is easy. To be considered for this opportunity, your school just needs to submit three essays and some data about student achievement that should be readily accessible.  Visit to get started!

Yesterday, Melody Barnes, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, was on BET’s 106 & Park to discuss the Commencement Challenge. Check out the video on

Last year, President Obama travelled to Kalamazoo Central High School in Kalamazoo, Michigan to deliver their commencement address. In case you missed it, Simon Boehme, one of the graduating seniors from the class of 2010, came to the White House a few weeks ago to talk to President Obama about his experience with the Commencement Challenge and to encourage this year’s graduating seniors to get involved.   You can check out the video of his trip to the White House:


The Principal of Kalamazoo Central High School, Von Washington, described the experience of competing in – and winning – the 2010 Commencement Challenge this way:

How do you begin to describe what shaking the hand of the President of the United States at your high school graduation means to a student? Every one of our students, and everyone within our community was changed by this once in a lifetime event.

The process of competing was great. Our students came together to show the country what Kalamazoo Central and Kalamazoo Public Schools are all about. The pride in their hard work, and the validation of their efforts, could catapult these students to new heights as they move into and beyond their college years. President Barack Obama's visit lifted our entire community on that evening, and we have yet to lose that altitude.

Submit your application by March 11, 2011, and President Obama could deliver the commencement address at your school this year!