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President Obama’s High School Commencement Challenge

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Guest Gamechanger

On Monday, April 26, 2010 at 8:00 a.m. EDT, public review and rating of the six high school finalists in President Obama’s High School Commencement Challenge will begin on http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/Commencement. A three-minute video and short essay from each school will highlight how it best satisfies the criteria of the Commencement Challenge. Visitors to the website can view each finalist’s video and written submission, presented in random order. For each school, visitors are encouraged to watch the video and read the essay question before deciding on a rating. Visitors will be allowed to rate the finalists on a scale of 1-5 (with 1 as the lowest rating and 5 as the highest). After a rating is submitted, the next school’s video and essay question will be presented for review and rating until all six schools have been viewed. The ability to rate videos will end at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Thursday, April 29, 2010.

Rating Criteria


Voters are encouraged to rank the finalists based on the criteria of the Commencement Challenge including:


* Educational success of the school as an example for other high schools around the country;

* The ability of the school to engage students in learning and to foster personal responsibility and academic excellence; and

* The success of the school in preparing students to graduate college and career-ready, to help meet the President’s 2020 goal that America have the highest proportion of college graduates of any nation in the world.


Determining the Winner


At the end of the rating period (April 26, 2010 at 8:00 a.m. EDT to April 29, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. EDT), the three schools with the highest average ratings will be submitted to President Obama for final selection. The winner of the Commencement Challenge will be announced on Tuesday, May 4, 2010.




ECHS is alive. We’re blocks from the world’s most congested freeway, yet we step onto campus with fruit trees and a running stream of reclaimed water, which was once asphalt, and we know we’re in an environment designed to envision a better life. As freshmen evaluate community health, sophomores debate the sustainability of progress, juniors examine the American dream, and we ask, “How are we powerful?” In our urbanite amphitheatre, we showcase art, host composting workshops, and train freshmen for success at ECHS. We give tours and present solutions and best practices, so 98% of us feel comfortable public speaking. With more graduation requirements than schools nationally, we pack our schedules with AP and college courses and exceed service requirements. ECHS is challenging; but, we thrive – we’ve learned education is empowerment and graduation is a milestone on our journey to a better world. We are 68% Latino, 20% African-American, 78% low income. Arriving 2.5 grade levels behind peers in math and English, by graduation we outperform national averages. 92% of us were accepted into universities in 2009 and most are first in our families to attend. We’re prepared to redefine the American Dream, rewrite our futures and heal our planet.

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