On Thursday, Jan. 31, President Barack Obama visited McGavock High School and praised the Academies of Nashville, students, teachers, business partners, and parents. In fact, the President spent a large portion of this speech discussing the Academies of Nashville, saying:
“It’s working. Over the past nine years, the graduation rate here has gone up 22 percent- 22 percent. Last year, attendance across the district, which includes 12 academy high schools, was higher than ever. Thousands of students are getting a head start on their future years before many of their peers do. And it’s great for businesses because they’re developing a pool of workers who already have the skills that they’re looking for.
Now, every community is different, with different needs, different approaches. But if Nashville can bring schools and teachers and businesses and parents together for the sake of our kids, then other places can. That’s why my administration is already running a competition to redesign high schools through employer partnerships that combine a quality education with real-world skills and hands-on learning.
I want to encourage more high schools to do what you are doing.”
However, the highlight of the event was when the President shared the story of a recent McGavock High School and Academy graduate Sara Santiago and broadcasting teacher Barclay Randall:
“When Sara was in Mr. Randall’s class, he helped her discover this passion for film making. And pretty soon, Sara’s grades started to improve. She won the school’s “Best Editing” award. Then she got an internship with Country Music Television- one of your business partners. And then she was accepted to the prestigious Savanna College of Art and Design. And she gives credit to Mr. Randall for this. She says, ‘Mr. Randall gave me a second change. He saw things I never saw in myself. He’s the person who helped me change’.”