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Northwest high school in top three in Obama commencement contest

Bridgeport High School is one of just three schools left in a contest to have President Barack Obama speak at graduation. 

Shortly after the announcement came from the White House this morning, principal Tamra Jackson jumped on the intercom to let her students know:

"And as I gave the announcement I could hear the screams and the hollers and the cheers all the way to my office from the whole building. Kids are just excited. The adults are excited."

Despite having only 37 seniors, it received more votes for its online video essay than schools in much larger cities. The Eastern Washington town, located 75 miles northeast of Wenatchee, has just 2,409 residents.

The contest asked students to show how their school fulfills the president’s goal of preparing them for college and careers. Bridgeport serves mostly low-income children of migrant farm workers, but nearly all of its seniors have been accepted to college. 

Check out their video entry to hear the students share their story:

Governor Chris Gregoire issued a statement to congratulate the students for making it this far:

“They have risen above all odds to make education a priority. These students are quite simply an inspiration to us all.”

Now it’s up to the president to decide which school to visit. The other schools he’s considering are in San Diego and Memphis. He’s expected to make his choice later this week.   

Charla joined us in January, 2010 and is excited to be back in Seattle after several years in Washington, DC, where she was a director and producer for NPR. Charla has reported from three continents and several outlets including Marketplace, San Francisco Chronicle and NPR. She has a master of journalism from University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor's degree in architecture from University of Washington.
Inland Northwest Correspondent Jessica Robinson reports from the Northwest News Network's bureau in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. From the politics of wolves to mining regulation to small town gay rights movements, Jessica covers the economic, demographic and environmental trends that are shaping places east of the Cascades.