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Obama Passes On High Tech High

A San Diego charter high school today fell short in its effort to have President Barack Obama deliver its commencement address.

High Tech High International, part of the High Tech High schools in Liberty Station, was one of three finalists in the 2011 Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge.

But the top prize -- a visit from Obama -- was Booker T. Washington High School of Memphis, which raised its graduation rate from 55 percent in 2007 to 81.6 percent last year, the White House announced.

When the competition was narrowed to a field of six, HTHI was the only school west of Tennessee to be included. It was chosen for creativity in engaging and supporting students, academic results and progress in preparing students to succeed in college and be ready for a career.

Those six schools produced videos that were placed on the White House website, and voting by the public narrowed the field to three. The president made the final decision.

"I'm so proud of the schools that participated in this year's commencement challenge and I want to thank all of them for their hard work and dedication," Obama said.

Another administration official is expected to speak at HTHI's graduation ceremony as a consolation.

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