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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Background on the President's Event Today in Michigan


The President will travel to Michigan to deliver the commencement address to the Kalamazoo Central High School Class of 2010, this year’s Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge winner.  The audience will be composed of approximately 5,000 people, including 280 graduating seniors, family members, faculty and invited guests.  Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will accompany the President. 

Additional background on the Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge as well as the Kalamazoo Central High School application essay and video can be viewed HERE.


Governor Jennifer Granholm
Senator Carl Levin
Senator Debbie Stabenow
Rep. Fred Upton
Mayor Bobby Hopewell


Mr. Von Washington, Jr., Principal of Kalamazoo Central High School, will welcome attendees and introduce the President.
Mr. Washington has been the principal at Kalamazoo Central for the past three years. Prior to that, for four years, he was the principal of the Alternative High School at West Ottawa Public Schools in Holland, Michigan.

Dr. Michael F. Rice, Superintendent of Kalamazoo Public Schools, will deliver brief remarks.
Dr. Rice was appointed superintendent of the Kalamazoo Public Schools in June 2007 and began work in Kalamazoo in August 2007.  Prior to his appointment, Rice served for five years as superintendent of Clifton Public Schools in Clifton, New Jersey.

Cindy Lee, Kalamazoo Central Class of 2010 Valedictorian, will deliver brief remarks.

Simon Bohme, Kalamazoo Central Class of 2010 Salutatorian and student senate president, will deliver brief remarks.

Ms. Lisa VanLoo will present the Class of 2010.

Mr. Michael Hopson and Mrs. Joyce Ryskamp, Kalamazoo Central High Guidance Counselors, will announce graduates.

Ms. Monique Gardner and Mr. Raj Brueggemann will lead the transfer of leadership.


Provided by Kalmazoo Central

Kalamazoo Central High School was constructed in 1980. It houses 1,700 students in grades 9-12. K-Central is the Michigan Class A boy’s basketball champion 2010 and finished second in the state in this year’s Mock Trial Championship.

Additional Facts
KCHS is a diverse community in its socio-economic and racial composite.  Students reside in urban and suburban settings. 50% of the student population self-identify as black/African-American, 39.8% as white/Caucasian and 10.2% as Native American, Hispanic, Asian, Indian and other.  
Any KC student, who has attended since the beginning of 9th grade qualifies for 65% tuition payment through the Kalamazoo Promise.  The majority of KC students qualify for full tuition payment at Michigan public colleges and universities. Fifty-five percent of our 2009 graduates plan to attend a 4-year college or university and 42.5% plan to attend a 2-year institution.
Graduation Requirements
Students in the 2010 graduating class are required to earn 28 credits in a 4x4 block schedule, including the following core requirements:
4 credits in English
4 credits in Social Studies
3 courses in Mathematics
3 credits in Science
1 credit in Fine Arts
1 credit in Computers
½ credit in Health Ed  
½ credit in Physical Ed
Special Course Offerings
Approximately 3% of KC students participate in advanced math, science, and computer courses offered at the Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center (KAMSC) and in math or English through the Academically Talented Youth Program (ATYP) taught on the WMU campus.

Other KC students participate in intensive course study in Education for Employment and Education for the Arts opportunities offered on-site and off-site. Off-site courses are taught in other high schools, college settings, community businesses, and agencies.   
Several juniors and seniors participate in dual enrollment courses offered at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Western Michigan University or Kalamazoo College.