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President Barack Obama will speak at Kalamazoo Central High School’s senior graduation next month, the White House announced today.

The school was the president’s final pick in the national Race to the Top Commencement Challenge. Earlier this year, the White House put out a call for high schools around the country to pitch why innovations in the classroom were worthy of a presidential perusal.

Obama will speak June 10, the Kalamazoo Public Schools said.

“We are delighted to welcome President Obama to Kalamazoo,” Superintendent Michael F. Rice said in a statement. “This honor validates the efforts and success not simply of a school or even of a school district but of an entire broader educational community.”

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced Kalamazoo Central as the winner.

“I look forward to visiting and speaking at Kalamazoo Central High School later this spring,” Obama said in a statement from Washington.

About 1,000 schools competed, and White House and Education Department staffers whittled the list down to six finalists, including Kalamazoo Central

Late last month, online voters eliminated three, and the president made a final pick this week, the choices including Kalamazoo Central and schools in Denver and Cincinnati.

“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 statement.

The White House took notice of the school’s “Kalamazoo Promise” program, which covers up to 100 percent of students’ college tuition for those who graduate.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100504/SCHOOLS/5040380/1409/rss36#ixzz0myz2eWs2

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