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Rural School a Finalist In Competition for Obama Speech

My EdWeek colleagues who write the Politics K-12 blog recently reported on the six finalists competing in the Race to the Top commencement challenge for President Obama to speak at high school graduation.

One of the finalists is a rural school—Bridgeport High—in Bridgeport, Wash., a town of about 2,400 in the north central part of the state that's known for its fruit orchards. The district enrolls 800 students in four schools; 20 percent are migrant and 45 percent are transitional bilingual.

Bridgeport High has about 200 students. Ninety percent are Hispanic, and 100 percent are high poverty. Many are the first in their families to go to high school, but 80 percent go on to college or technical school, according to The Seattle Times. And students have the opportunity to earn up to 50 college credits before they graduate.

Videos—including the one for Bridgeport High—and essays from the finalists are posted online, and the deadline to vote is Friday. Rural advocates are asking voters to support Bridgeport High, which was the only rural school selected. The others are in Memphis, Tenn.; San Diego; Newark, N.J.; and Goldsboro, N.C.

The top three vote-getters will be announced May 2, and President Obama will choose a winner later that week.

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