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Entries in Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge (1)

Tuesday
Mar082011

Few Schools Request Obama Commencement Speech

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- When the White House announced its "Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge" last month, officials expected to be deluged with hundreds, if not thousands, of applications from students asking President Obama to speak at their graduation ceremonies.

After all, for the 2010 Commencement Challenge, more than 1,000 schools applied for the honor. Kalamazaoo Central High school ultimately won.

This year the response was underwhelming. Just three days before the original Feb. 25 deadline, the White House had received only 14 applications.

Whether the poor showing was due to poor publicity, underachieving students, weak school administrators, or a lack of enthusiasm for President Obama, this sad state of affairs is one that the White House does not particularly want to discuss.

"We're pleased by the quality applications that are coming in," said White House spokeswoman Gannet Tseggai, "and the president looks forward to encouraging young people to graduate from high school and pursue college and careers."

Officials have extended the deadline to this Friday, March 11.

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