Thousands of Washington area high school students in the Class of 2017 are graduating this month, carrying with them the hopes and dreams of a promising future among their parents, teachers, family members and friends. Most of them are headed to a two- or four-year college, or trade school, or the military while others will seek employment commensurate with their limited skills and with the opportunities provided by the Summer Youth Employment Program.
This is a moment of great celebration not only because of the hard work each student engaged in academically, but it also represents thousands of community service hours performed by every graduate across the city due to a 100-hour community service requirement of DCPS students before graduation.
This moment also represents the culmination of a Capital Commitment established five years ago by DCPS to “ensure that every D.C. public school provides a world-class education that prepares ALL of our students, regardless of background or circumstance, for success in college, career and life.” That commitment included improving achievement rates, investment in schools, increasing graduation rates, improving satisfaction by the students of their respective schools and increasing enrollment.
Newly appointed DCPS Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson, along with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser are crisscrossing the city attending commencement ceremonies and proudly touting that today “academic performance is up, graduation rates are up, enrollment is up, student satisfaction is up and it’s time to set a new vision for what our district can accomplish.”
But the vision has already become a reality at Ballou Senior High School where it was announced this week during graduation that for the first time in the history of the Ward 8 school, 100 percent of the students both applied and were accepted to at least one college or university, including the University of the District of Columbia. Not enough can be said about this achievement or the teachers, parents and especially the students who committed to making this dream a reality.
We congratulate the entire Class of 2017 and praise them for allowing their goals to shatter their obstacles.