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The Race to the Top

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The mock trial team placed second in the state mock trial competition (and is a winner of 17 state championships).

The band received a silver medal at a national competition in Orlando, Florida.

The KCHS graduation rate is now 80 percent.

Key to these achievements is an innovative program called the Kalamazoo Promise that provides a full-tuition scholarship for eligible students to attend a Michigan college, university or community college of their choice.

The Kalamazoo Promise was created in November 2005 by an anonymous group of donors who believed that the foundation of economic development is education and then put up the money to try to make that happen.

KCHS students have responded in kind by taking advantage of this unique opportunity afforded them through hard work and study. Some are even the first generation in their family to be college-educated.

I'm sure the president's committee that selected KCHS took note of "the Promise" as an example of the kind of support well-endowed citizens in communities across the United States can give to youth, especially at this time when states must make drastic cuts in their educational programs and budgets.

However, I'm sure the committee noticed something else about KCHS and it was evident at last night's commencement.

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Olga Bonfiglio is a Huffington Post contributor and author of Heroes of a Different Stripe: How One Town Responded to the War in Iraq. She has written for several magazines and newspapers on the subjects of food, social justice and religion. She (more...)
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