Wayne County high school could get Obama as speaker

Posted April 10, 2011 2:04 p.m. EDT

— A Wayne County high school is a finalist in a competition to have President Barack Obama speak at this year's graduation.

Wayne Early Middle College High School in Goldsboro is one of six finalists in the Race to the Top Commencement Challenge.

If Obama chooses Wayne College High as the winner, he would speak to the first graduating class to have attended all four years at the school, which was founded in 2007.

"I want to encourage the six finalists for all they've done to prepare their students for college and careers," Obama said in a statement. "I look forward to meeting the students and teachers of the winning school at their commencement."

The schools submitted written applications and were judged on how well they prepare students and creatively engaged and supported them, as well as their overall academic record.

In the coming weeks, a team from The Get schooled Foundation and Viacom will help students at the six finalist school create a short video profiling their school.

The videos, an essay and other material from the finalists will be posted on the White House website, and the public can vote for the top three schools. Obama will then pick the winner from that trio.

Wayne College High partners with Wayne County Community College to let high schoolers take college-level courses. They can graduate in four to five years with a high school diploma and an associate's degree or two years of courses to transfer to a four-year college.

The other finalists are Bridgeport High School in Bridgeport, Wash.; Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, Tenn.; Science Park High School in Newark, N.J.; Pittsburgh CAPA, School for Creative and Performing Arts in Pittsburg, Penn.; and High Tech High International in San Diego, Calif.

This is the second year of the Race to the Top Competition. Last year, Obama picked Kalamazoo Central High in Kalamazoo, Mich., as the winner.