Thu04242014

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<br />The Power of One: BTW steps closer to a visit from President Obama

The Tri-State Defender extended Booker T. Washington High School Principal Alisha Kiner an invitation to write an open letter to those who have supported BTW in its amazing journey. She accepted.  On Monday, Booker T. Washington High School learned that it is among the three schools receiving the most online votes in this year’s Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge. President Obama will decide on Monday (May 9) which of these remaining schools gets to have him as commencement speaker.

The Commencement Challenge is designed for schools to demonstrate their commitment to preparing students for college and a career. Hundreds of applications were received and were judged based on the schools’ performance, essay questions and supplemental data. Six applicants were selected to produce videos to display their creativity in engaging and supporting students, academic results, and progress in preparing students to graduate college-and-career ready.

Now, the race is down to three, with BTW still standing. The Tri-State Defender extended BTW Principal Alisha Kiner an invitation to write an open letter to those who have supported BTW in its amazing journey. She accepted.

Below is her letter to the city:   

In the novel, “The Power of One,” written by Bryce Courtenay, the protagonist, “Peekay,” endeavored to discern and cultivate within himself what he referred to as “the power of one” – or the purposeful resolve that allowed one to survive any situation, regardless how formidable. After reading the novel, however, the reader learned that even though Peekay had struggled, Peekay met people along the way who played an integral role in his ultimate success.  

The video that the students created at Booker T. Washington High School for the Commencement Challenge echoed Peekay’s voice and proclaimed, “I am one!”  This manifesto not only signified the students’ pride as Washingtonians, but also sent out the edict that they were more than survivors, they are overcomers.  Just like Peekay, the students and I have met people along the way who played an integral role in our ultimate success.  

To our supporters: community members, alumni, family, friends, peer groups and anyone who cared enough to vote or say a kind word or perform any deed on our behalf, we say, “Thank you!”  

I’ve seen it written more appropriately like this: “I would thank you from the bottom of my heart, but for you, my heart has no bottom.”

No matter what announcement the White House makes (and we believe the President will select BTW), your Herculean support played the most integral role of all.

- BTW Principal Alisha Kiner

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