The announcement was made today that Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, TN was the winner of the 2011 Race to the Top Commencement Challenge. In a phone conversation, Vice President Joe Biden informed the BTW Race to the Top Commencement Challenge committee of students and staff they had been selected by President Barack Obama as the winner.
This is an amazing accomplishment for the school, the neighborhood and the City of Memphis.
As I stated in an earlier blog post, Booker T. Washington is my alma mater and I am ecstatic that the children of my own community have won this challenge.
Success is not a given for many people such as myself, growing up in low-income neighborhood. Not only is it not a given, but it sadly, for the most part it isn’t even an expectation. It is something you have to desire, seek and execute. For many students who grow up in poverty the statistics seem stacked against them.
Many people expect them to fail because the statistics read failure , but accomplishments such as winning The Race to the Top Commencement Challenge prove that it is definitely not where you come from, but what you set your mind to accomplish. The school has also made another great accomplishment by improving its graduation rate from 55 percent in 2007 to more than 80 percent in 2010. Booker T. Washington High School’s theme is We’re TOPS! We Lead and Others Follow. This is a very fitting motto for a school that is filled with students who choose each day to succeed instead of succumb to the defeat that many expect.
The school is located in the 38126 zip code of Memphis, TN which is an area of high poverty and high crime rates. However these Booker T. Washington students have realized that success is an accolade that they too can achieve. They too are worthy of recognition, success and prosperity!
Again, Congratulations to the Booker T. Washington Warriors graduating class of 2011. Job well done!
To view the Race to the Top Commencement video submitted by Booker T. Washington High School, please click here
To learn more about The Commencement Challenge click here
To visit the Booker T. Washington High School of Memphis, TN school website click here