First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at the graduation of Anacostia High School last Saturday, and recognized the schools dramatic turnaround over the course of the last year.
Mrs. Obama reminded students of their perseverance and character, and encouraged them to stay committed to their education.
Anacostia High School’s graduation class totaled 146 students this year. 90% of them are headed to college in the fall.
The remarkable turnaround came after a restructuring with assistance from the Friendship Public Charter Schools. The school had a long history of academic failure. Only 18% of students could read at grade level, the truancy rate was over 50%, and only half of Anacostia students graduated.
Under the guidance of the Friendship Public Charter Schools, a non-profit public school management organization, the attendance rate increased to 70%, academic scores are improving, and 75% of its teachers are in the Teach for America program, which works to bring educational equality to schools in low income areas.
In her speech, Mrs Obama said: “Part of being a mature and functioning adult in this society is realizing that life is a series of trade-offs. If you want a career that pays a good salary, then you have to work hard. You’ve got to be on time; you’ve got to finish what you start. If you want a life free from drama, then you can’t hang out with people who thrive on drama. You have to pick your friends wisely.”