Admitting that he "cries at commencements", the president told the 2011 graduates:
"We are here today because every single one of you stood tall and said, “Yes, we can. Yes, we can learn. Yes, we can succeed. You decided you would not be defined by where you come from but by where you want to go, by what you want to achieve, by the dreams you hope to fulfill."Just a couple of years ago, this was a school where only about half the students made it to graduation. For a long time, just a handful headed to college each year. But at Booker T. Washington, you changed all that.
The school won the President's Race To The Top Commencement Challenge. Booker T. Washington High School’s graduation rate went from 55% in 2007 to 81.6% in 2010. More here.