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Schools Compete To Have Obama Speak at Graduation

The President of the United States could be coming to a high school graduation ceremony in your area. The White House has issued a challenge to public schools across the nation to submit applications to have President Obama speak at their graduation ceremonies this spring. We spoke with a local high school that plans on taking up this challenge. KSMU’s Adam Murphy reports.

The “Race to the Top Commencement Challenge” invites all public schools to show how they are working toward President Obama’s goal of America having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. The online application asks four essay questions. According to the White House the schools will be judged based on performance and dedication to providing students with an education that will prepare them to graduate ready for college and careers.

Dr. Ron Snodgrass is the principal of Central High School in Springfield. He says Central’s programs and culture make it a great candidate for the challenge.

“For our area here in southwest Missouri, we are probably the most diverse population of any school. We are represented by over 30 nations of different nationalities here at our school…So culturally our school matches as best we can in our area of the country, I think, to society as a whole, so I think that would bode well for our application,” said Snodgrass.

Schools are also encouraged to submit supplementary data supporting their points, and a two-minute video expressing the culture and character of the school and its students. The U.S. Department of Education will select six finalists after the application deadline of March 15, and then the public will be able to vote online for their top three choices. President Obama will then select from those three schools the winning high school he will travel to to deliver his gradation address to the class of 2010.

For KSMU News, I’m Adam Murphy.