racing to the top

The Commercial Appeal: In explaining why Booker T. Washington High School won the Race To The Top challenge to earn its commencement speech Monday from President Barack Obama, the White House cited statistics of various school achievements … But anyone who watched the videos submitted by finalists could see elements in BTW’s entry that numbers cannot measure – passion, motivation and, quite clearly, an enthusiasm for Obama.

When Obama comes to Memphis, the moment will take on a meaning even larger than that usually associated with a presidential visit … The nation’s first black president will be visiting, for the first time since his 2008 election, one of the most important cities for African-American culture, achievement and history – and engaging a high school with its own historic and symbolic significance for the city.

Rev. Noel Hutchinson is the big, wryly funny pastor of First Baptist Church-Lauderdale … “As the first black president, he symbolically represents all the hopes and dreams many of us as a people have for ourselves. He embodies great success and the great symbolism of one who came up through many challenges to become the president of the United States. And now he is coming to a neighborhood in one of the poorest ZIP codes in Memphis that in recent years has been been consistently overlooked … That in and of itself will do great things to shape self esteem for generations to come. …He is coming into a community that is proud of his achievements and appreciative of his hard work,” Hutchinson said.

Full article here

Thank you Carole 😉

21 Responses to “racing to the top”

  1. 1 sherijr
    May 15, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    I’m glad he’ll be giving the commencement here, these students have succeeded against all the odds and who better to recognize them proudly for us all than President Obama~ Excellent choice.

    • 2 cuphalffull
      May 15, 2011 at 12:56 pm

      I’m middle aged and I feel the same way about the President’s effect on my empowerment as these high school graduates. The First Lady’s words and deeds have a tremendous effect on my sense of purpose and self respect as well. When life hasn’t been easy and major obstacles come along we need these kinds of leaders to make us raise up our chins, look adversity in the eye and make the best of each day.

      Today I was making myself learn new things on the computer to help my efforts with Organizing for America. Being in a rural rural area we didn’t have big enough numbers to organize more than one team. Now we have to step it up and I need to learn skills and get over my shyness and self doubt to ask questions as many times as it takes. I was telling my daughter, as a younger person I didn’t do leadership much if I could avoid it. I loved service but not the hard organizational tasks when many people were depending on your efforts. This is tough but every time I read something from or about the President I shake off that fear and stretch myself to do more. He is counting on us after all.

      • 3 GGail
        May 15, 2011 at 1:00 pm

        What a wonderful story cuphalffull! Keep pressing on – we are PROUD of you!

      • 4 sherijr
        May 15, 2011 at 1:21 pm

        You are Awesome cuphalffull- your name here so correctly reflects your positive posts 🙂 I see the Obamas as exceptional leaders- who are passing on their excellent ethics and standards to those in the country/ world who are choosing to pay attention. They are the finest examples we’ve ever seen imo- and the fact that they are so willing to speak at these Commencements is something I believe will be emulated by young people for generations- those young folks are our future Barack’s and Michelle’s and I cannot wait to see the great young and women who will become tomorrow’s leaders.

        • 5 cuphalffull
          May 15, 2011 at 1:46 pm

          Loved your thoughts. People suffer when there are poor leaders but I also think people blossom and shine when they have good ones. I know what you mean about all the young people that will take up their calling under these beautiful leaders. (Since the poetry workshop where the First Lady spoke to the students who had been invited to come, I can’t help but think of them both as leaders.)

      • 6 M
        May 16, 2011 at 2:35 am

        Cuphalffull, your story is beautiful! Thank you for sharing that. I can relate to your situation because I too tend to avoid leadership. You are an inspiration for many and I bet your daughter is very proud.

  2. 7 GGail
    May 15, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Thanks Chipsticks, thanks Carole! I am so happy that BTW won! It’s the school that I voted for! WELL DESERVED. btw – why does the caption say BTW – Tulsa OK? BTW is the first African American HS in Memphis TN. Never mind…by the time I wrote that you speedy Chip made the change! Right on!

  3. 8 StR
    May 15, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Is there any vid floating around when BTW is told they’ve won?

  4. 9 GGail
    May 15, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Thanks Chipsticks for posting their original submission. I shake my head at the thought that a family in the United States is living, no EXISTING on an income of $10,000. How can the repugs want to decrease Social Services – REALLY!?

  5. 10 Bobfr
    May 15, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Dear Chipsticks et al.,

    OT but potentially very important news about Libya!

    For those of you who have been tracking the comments section of the Libya live blog on AJE, you will already be familiar with the highly credible ‘Gerhard Heinz.’ You will know that English is not his native language but that has not prevented him from being among the most highly regarded posters (you can check the list of popular comments and his, by far, are among the most highly rated). His information has been hours to days ahead of anything you will find in the media (not just US, but anywhere).

    Well he just posted the following:

    “i am waiting for goverment spokesman
    tell us that daffi-clan is not longer in power
    the official ministerpresident will declare a ceasefire and will hold talks with all groops about the future of libya
    regime is cracking from inside today”

    Link: http://blogs.aljazeera.net/live/africa/libya-live-blog-0#comment-204094452

    You will want to be keeping an eye on the White House, State Department, CSPAN, etc., over the next 24 h or less as you may be hearing another important announcement from the President.

    Yes.We.Can. … DO.More.Together!

    • May 15, 2011 at 1:17 pm

      Oh Bob, that’s hugely promising news, please let it be true. Will stayed tuned, it would be a completely wonderful development. Thank you so much for letting us know.

    • 12 sherijr
      May 15, 2011 at 1:23 pm

      Yes it is very exciting Bob, I hope this is finally going to over for the Libyan people- so they can begin to rebuild their government and their country.

    • 13 cuphalffull
      May 15, 2011 at 1:39 pm

      A group of us used a study guide and a film to learn about the International Criminal Court and The Responsibility to Protect resolution in the UN. As far as I understand it, Libya was the first time anyone had tried to invoke the second since its enactment in 2005. Our President can do hard things that’s for sure. Also though I don’t think we have signed onto the court it has been up and running and has become a credible threat to those who would commit crimes against humanity. I have read that Ghadafi may be brought before that court. Some day someone like Bin Laden might be captured and tried successfully by the UN.

    • May 15, 2011 at 1:43 pm

      Very interesting. I was channel surfing and saw at the bottom of the screen a statement from the WH saying that the US will be out of Libya once the “daffi-clan” steps down. I didn’t follow the story any further but my immediate thought was ‘why would they say that unless they knew something?’ The WH has never, to my knowledge, given an actual goal post as to when they will fully exit the mission.

    • 15 Bobfr
      May 15, 2011 at 1:56 pm

      Thank you everyone for your thoughtful comments.

      I’ve been on the various AJE live blogs since the inception of the “Arab Spring” and one thing those of you who have spent time there know is that the diversity of the comments is astonishing – 24/7, people from all over the world participating. But, one common feature, is the presence of totally transparent and truly ugly trolls. No surprise, but the one thing that Disqus allows and the moderators are often not able to correct is the inappropriate, and totally orchestrated use of ‘Flag’ by the trolls to disrupt comments from very well informed and analytical posters, like Gerhard H.

      So, if you click on the link in my OP and it does not work, just know that, what several of us take turns doing is reposting everything he posts as a way to ensure all his comments are preserved 🙂

      Yes.We.Can. … DO.More.Together!

      • 16 Bobfr
        May 15, 2011 at 2:04 pm

        Just posted by dragonlance:

        “I see the dragon flights are in the air. This night may be a bit different. More for the convincing then for the destroying.

        Maybe key will be if the runners on the ground have carried their messages far enough afield. Key centers for play this night … south and south west of Tripoli…. and seaside vistas to the west. Tripoli will or already have special taps.

        Regime is imploding. Now is for convincing that now is time to defect to have any future. No need for further people on either side to die.

        People of Tripoli will have their peacefull march. Will it be tomorrow or next day?

        Regime people why die for a clan that has no use for you and no future? Tripoli may be free before the sun rises in morning. If not then it will be very soon.

        Dragons bearing special gifts are overhead now. The eastern wall holds strong. Lions are advancing. The lancers move down from the heights.

        A good night and day day ahead for freedom.

        Where oh where are those tigers? Daffi you about to find out.”


        That’ll give you a sense of how closely everything is being monitored …. folk in Southern Europe, North Africa track all the incoming and outbound NATO aircraft as they go from civil air control channels to AWACS (completely secure/encrypted) and back to civil air control. Remember, literally hundreds of planes are orchestrated each day, most after dark, and you’re looking at air space that has considerable civilian air traffic, so lots of coordination and more than one savvy poster on the Libya live blog comments section track and report, real time. Rather impressive.

        These comment sections are going to be treasure troves for Ph.D. students in many disciplines, for years to come.

        Yes.We.Can. … DO.More.Together!

      • 17 M
        May 16, 2011 at 2:30 am

        Wow, Bobfr, that work you are doing is most impressive! Thank you!

  6. 18 Kasai
    May 15, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Good Sunday Morning Everyone…

    This video had me chocked up…It’s obvious that this President and the First Lady have a tremendous effect in young folks around this great nation.

    I was reading my local papers…..North County Times -San Diego..(kinda red state) actually ISSA district to be exact.
    and there’s was an article called “The Pin”…A teacher was telling a story about a pin that read “WE WILL NEVER FORGET” with an American flag, he wore for the past 10 years, his student were always asking why he always wore that pin, since most of them were too young to understand the impact of 9/11 so in describing the tragic event..he made a point to teach them about patriotism. When President Obama was elected he wrote him a letter concerning 9/11 and how it effected his life, he knew that President Obama would be the one to fulfill his promise…so after hearing the death of Bin Ladin, he decided to send that old faded PIN he wore for the 10years to the President, thanking him for the promised kept.

    This story brought tears and it was so heartfelt, even here in the red state community there’s hope, stories like this are having a profound effect, especially with younger generation. I wish I had kept this article, hopefully I can find it the archives of NCTimes…

    Peace and Love:-)

    Obama/Biden 2012

    May 15, 2011 at 4:26 pm


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