The White House is once again teaming with MTV's parent company Viacom and the Get Schooled Foundation for the 2011 "Race to the Top Commencement Challenge," a competition among the nation's public high schools that aims to find the school that best prepares its students for college and beyond. And the winning school will get a graduation-day visit from President Obama himself.
"I'm looking for a school that understands the number one priority is making sure that our kids are learning what they need to succeed in this 21st century economy," President Obama said in a statement.
Beginning Tuesday (February 1), students can nominate their school by submitting an application through the White House website. All applications must be submitted by Friday, February 25. Following that, the White House and the Department of Education will select six finalists, and, along with Viacom's Get Schooled Foundation, will work with those six schools to create short videos, which will be featured on WhiteHouse.gov and voted on by the public. The top three vote-getters will then be submitted to President Obama, who will select a winner.
"We are excited to partner with the White House again on this important initiative — one that takes a unique approach to getting our youth excited about education," Carl Folta, Viacom's executive vice president of corporate communications said in a statement. "This campaign does two very important things: it leverages Viacom's compelling entertainment brands to make education appealing and tangible, and it shines a spotlight on a national priority that is the core of our nation's future success."
Last year, Michigan's Kalamazoo Central High School beat out more than 1,000 schools to win the inaugural Race to the Top challenge and was rewarded with a surprise appearance by President Obama, who then delivered the commencement speech for graduating seniors.
The initial competition was such a success, in fact, that the White House decided to bring it back in 2011, with President Obama personally challenging schools to "share effective strategies on how they are preparing their students to win the future and achieve the goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020."
To enter, head to WhiteHouse.gov and tell President Obama why your school is best preparing students for the future.