May 4th, 2010
11:58 AM ET
8 years ago

Obama to speak at Michigan high school commencement

 Do you remember who gave your high school commencement address?

Do you remember who gave your high school commencement address?

(CNN) - Do you remember who gave your high school commencement address?

For a group of Michigan high school students, it will be a moment they'll probably never forget. President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that he will deliver this year's graduation speech at Kalamazoo Central High School - the winner of the administration's first annual "Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge."

"I congratulate our winner, Kalamazoo Central High School, and all of our six finalists for their innovative and effective approaches to teaching, learning and preparing students to graduate ready for college and a career," Obama said in a written statement. "I look forward to visiting and speaking at Kalamazoo Central High School later this spring."

The White House asked Americans to help pick a winning high school from a list of six finalists. The list was cut to three recently, the White House said. Obama chose the winner.

"The race was neck and neck all the way to the end with all six schools within half a point of each other," a White House statement said. "Thank you to the more than 170,000 people who weighed in and rated the six finalist schools."

The other two schools that made the final cut were Clark Montessori Junior High and High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Colorado's Denver School of Science and Technology.

To compete, students from around the country had to submit a three-minute video and a short essay on how their school was helping prepare students to meet Obama's goal to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.

First lady Michelle Obama issued her own challenge this year, promising students at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., that she would speak at their commencement if they completed 100,000 hours of community service this year.

The university announced last month that its student body surpassed the 100,000-hour mark. Mrs. Obama is now scheduled to speak at its graduation on May 16.

Updated: 11:58 a.m.

Filed under: Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Nadeem

    Time to re-enroll in high school

    May 4, 2010 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    No matter how you feel about this administration, kudos has to be given to both MIchelle and Barack for their committment to education and children. I like the way it wasn't made into a general lottery, but instead the kids at the schools were asked how they would tackle challenge 'X'. Good ideas can come from ALL sources. I appreciate the way the POTUS and FLOTUS seek input from any and all available venues and people.

    Good deal!

    May 4, 2010 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  3. Good

    Thanks for caring about our kids.

    May 4, 2010 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  4. Jennifer Martin, Chicago, IL

    Very cool. I especially like the First Lady's contest.

    May 4, 2010 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  5. kaikin

    Man I really wish Obama would come to my school

    May 4, 2010 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  6. very good idea

    chosing, of the best schools, which to be the speaker

    it is a reward for doing good work etc

    May 4, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  7. Gary - Denver

    This is a great way to energize students and highten awareness of the importance of education at any level.

    May 4, 2010 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  8. Shannan P

    Really excited for Kalamazoo Central High School!!!!! Class of '95-WORLD CLASS..HOME OF THE MIGHTY GIANTS!!!! and the first class of the Kalamazoo Promise just graduated from Western Michigan Univ. in Kalamazoo..keeping my fingers crossed 🙂

    May 4, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  9. Mr. Teleprompter

    Not to worry, I'll be going along for the ride.

    May 4, 2010 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  10. Nelson, Colorado Springs Co

    President Barack Obama need to come to the mountain top of Colorado

    May 4, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  11. Steve A.

    I think that schools shold be very interested in getting Obama to speak. I would think the number one question on the mind of graduating seniors would be:

    May 4, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  12. Mike Rehkamp

    Look for the President to pick the school in Michigan.

    May 4, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  13. johnnyhouse

    It will be in Chicago.

    May 4, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  14. CommonSense

    Wow! It is so awesome to see the President & First Lady putting a focus on education sector....change starts with everyone and not just the Obama Administration. What a great leader!!!

    May 4, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  15. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I love how the 1st Family is engaging with the youth.

    May 4, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |