President Obama may give commencement at Lawndale high school

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Environmental Charter High School is a public charter high school that serves Lawndale, Calif., and surrounding communities in Los Angeles.

President Obama may not be in good graces with California educators. His education department turned down this state’s application for school improvement funds. But a high school in Lawndale doesn’t care. It’s made the short list in a competition for the President to deliver the school’s commencement address.

Over a thousand high schools nationwide applied for the Race To the Top High School Commencement Challenge. Like the rest, students at Environmental Charter High School in Lawndale submitted a video and essays about how their 10-year-old campus is excelling at educating a college and career-ready generation.

School Founder Alison Suffet-Diaz said many of the Environmental Charter’s 470 students told the White House about how their school connects them to learning.

"They talked about the trips that they go on when they go to to Catalina Island in their 9th-grade year. In their 10th-grade year they go to Joshua Tree, 11th-grade year they go backpacking in the mountains. In their 12th-grade year they go on an Amazing Race."

Suffet Diaz said 95 percent of the charter school’s graduating seniors were accepted to four-year colleges or universities last year. The White House is sending video crews to Environmental Charter High and the five other finalist schools. President Obama will pick one and deliver the school’s commencement speech this spring.

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