WORCESTER, Mass. (WWLP) – A Worcester High School that almost shut down 16 years ago welcomed a special guest Wednesday at their graduation ceremony. 22News was there when President Barack Obama called Worcester Technical a “model” school.
Increasing graduation rates and proficiency levels in English and math; President Obama praised Worcester Technical High School Class of 2014 for their extraordinary academic achievements.
Reginald Sarpong, the class president of Worcester Tech ’14, said, “I mean this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m so glad I got to spend it with him.”
Hundreds of Worcester Technical High School’s graduating seniors all shook hands with President Obama as they walked across the stage to receive their high school diploma.
“Your future will be brighter. There’s no limit to what we can do together, so congratulations Class of 2014, you’re going to do big things,” said President Obama.
The President delivered their commencement address. He told the graduates, what they’ve accomplished is a perfect example of a successful high school. A decade ago, Worcester Tech was one of the worst performing schools in the state.
Pres. Obama said, “The number of students who are proficient, who are advanced in math has gone up a 100%. In English more than 200%. And today, so many students want to come to Worcester Tech, there’s a waiting list with more than 400 names long.”
Families hope graduates will always remember what the President said about education. Henry Walley of Worcester said, “Pretty much get them on the right trail and something that’s going to make them see the need to education and see the need for growing up and fulfilling their lives, being a productive citizen.”
22News spoke with one family member who’s proud to see his sister set her career path toward becoming a Supreme Court Justice. Jontaye Brown, younger sister is graduated, said, “It’s very good. I want to see her do a lot better than I did and I didn’t have a plan coming out of high school. The fact that she’s this far ahead is a pleasure to me. More than a pleasure.”
More than 80% of this graduating class will move on to higher education institutions. Some have jobs lined up already and some will join the military.