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Academies at Anacostia Students to be Mentored by President Obama

Special to The Informer | 11/29/2011, 10:23 a.m.

The Academies at Anacostia is proud to announce two that two of its students, Alonzo Tabron and Malcolm Ware, will be part of a mentoring program with President Barack Obama.

"We are honored that along with the business of running the country, President Obama is demonstrating that mentoring our young men can positively impact their lives and the future of our community," said Donald L. Hense, chairman of Friendship Public Charter School, which runs the Academies at Anacostia.

In September 2009, former D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee invited Friendship Public Charter School to partner with DCPS to turn around the school, now renamed the Academies at Anacostia. Since the partnership began the graduation rate has increased from 57 percent to 79 percent, with 90 percent of graduates being accepted to college. In addition, last year the attendance rate increased to 72 percent from 56 percent prior to the partnership.

As part of the school's turn around, Friendship has offered academically rigorous Advanced Placement courses. In the past year 150 more students took these courses than in the partnership's first year. So far 40 students have earned Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded D.C. Achievers

Scholarships, paying a full-ride through college, and one has been awarded a Gates Millennium Scholarship, which fully funds an undergraduate and post-graduate degree.

Currently 95 percent of Anacostia's students are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch due to their families' low income. Nearly one in 10 students currently is homeless and almost one third of students are classified as having special education needs.

The school's success in the face of such adverse circumstances has drawn praise from First Lady Michelle Obama, who gave the commencement address to students at the Academies at Anacostia last year. In addition the first lady also mentors Gabrielle Dukes, a junior at the Academies at Anacostia.

Friendship's mission is to provide a world-class education that motivates students to achieve high academic standards, enjoy learning and develop as ethical, literate, well-rounded and self-sufficient citizens who contribute actively to their communities. Friendship runs six public charter schools in the District and four traditional public schools in Baltimore in partnership with Baltimore City Public Schools. Friendship serves nearly 8,000 students from pre-K to 12th grade.