Foothill competes for the President’s attention

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obamafoothillvisitThe White House announced a contest last month for public high schools in America to compete against one another for a chance to have President Obama speak at their graduation.

The competition, which is being called the “Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge” by the White House, is open only to public schools that can prove that they are working to meet the President’s goal of having the highest population of people who have graduated from college by 2020. The schools can do this by proving they are preparing students for college and their future careers.

“This is a real opportunity for public high schools across the country to highlight their academic excellence, to highlight what they are doing to ensure their students are college ready, how they are readying their students to meet the president’s goal of having the highest percentage of college graduates in the world by 2020,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a telephone conference to student leaders from across the nation, including members of The Foothill Dragon Press staff.

The prize for the winning school is simple: President Obama will give the commencement speech to the graduating class of 2010.

Schools submitted their applications by March 15, and the White House will select six schools in the coming weeks. Then the public will vote via website on the top three schools. President Obama will choose from these three, picking the school that best helps meet his goal.

Along with an online application, the schools could submit a video that reflects the culture and character of the campus.

Foothill teacher Josh Dinkler, with the help of fellow teachers Cathy Gaspard and Chris Prewitt, put together the two-minute video that will be used if Foothill is selected for the top 6.

“The vision was to capture the optimism and the programs that we offer on the campus,” said Dinkler, who put in over 40 hours working on the video.

Teachers Melissa Wantz, Alice Rocca, Jennifer Kindred, and Cherie Eulau worked on the essays for Foothill’s application, aided by the brainstorming of Melanie Lindsey and Robin Houlahan. Drinkler said that Wantz was the “Editor in Chief” of the project from the beginning.

Gaspard said that winning the contest would mean more to her than Foothill being recognized by the federal government, saying that winning would be, “Everything the originators and creators of this high school set out to do.”

Photo: A screen capture from Foothill’s Video for the commencement challenge, by Josh Dinkler.

 

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