When you succeed in school, it is not just your victory — but ours as well. It says that we, as a nation, have done right by you — offering you a quality education and setting you on a path to success.
–Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education
June 2, 2010
Last week Secretary Arne Duncan joined Principal Anita Berger, current Washington Redskins and philanthropist Chris Draft, representatives from Howard University, officials from D.C. Public Schools, and the teachers, parents and family members of the 85 graduates of the Benjamin Banneker Academic High School Class of 2010 at Howard University’s Cramton Auditorium for their commencement ceremony.
Duncan’s commencement address, “Finding Your Passion,” challenged graduates to strive for excellence, pursue their dreams, persist and achieve college and career success, and use their talents to make a positive contribution to their community and our country.
“How many of you consider sports to be your passion?” Duncan said. “How many of you are passionate about science? How about music, art and drama? And where are the writers and historians among you? Finding what you love is one of the core challenges in life. Some of you have already met that challenge. Some of you may still be looking and that is OK. When you find what you love, it doesn’t feel like work. It’s a joy to get up each morning and pursue your passion.”
Banneker High School is the District’s city-wide high school. Located across from Howard University’s campus, it offers a rigorous and highly structured four-year program, leading to college. The school offers a wide range of Advanced Placement courses and is the only District public school certified to offer the International Baccalaureate program. In addition to satisfying the school’s academic requirements, all Banneker students are required to complete a minimum of 270 hours of community service prior to graduation. Since 1983, the school has registered a near 100 percent graduation and college acceptance rate. In 2010, the 85 members of the senior class garnered over $16 million in scholarships and awards from foundations, colleges and universities across the nation.
“This is your day to shine and your day to feel good about yourself and what you have become,” Duncan said. “Every one of you is headed to college and careers. Every one of you is aiming high and there are no limits to what you can become. But today is also a result of the culture of learning established here at Banneker by your teachers and administrators. At Banneker, rigor and excellence are expected of everyone. Near-perfect attendance is the norm. AP classes are the norm. College is the norm. Here at Banneker, excellence is the norm.”
See the text of Secretary Duncan’s remarks.
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