KENWOOD — First lady Michelle Obama will be the commencement speaker for King College Prep High School on June 9, the White House announced Tuesday.
Obama, a Chicago native, will deliver the address for the 2015 class, which won the first lady's FAFSA completion challenge. FAFSA — the Free Application for Federal Student Aid — is the financial form students use for scholarships and other financial grants.
Students at the selective-enrollment high school at 4445 S. Drexel Blvd. created a video that "showcased student creativity and schoolwide efforts around FAFSA completion with a mock episode of "Scandal," the White House said.
James Staros, chairman of the History Department at King, said he had been wondering why commencement was on a Tuesday this year. The ceremony is slated to take place on the Chicago State University campus.
"I had heard rumors about it, but I wasn't sure it was true," Staros said.
He said news is still spreading among the students of the first lady's address, and his history students seem the most excited so far.
"My government class knew right away, but they're more tuned in," Staros said.
Some of the students met Obama after King sophomore Hadiya Pendelton was shot just blocks from the school in 2013 and would have graduated this year, but most have never met the president or first lady, who live just south of the school.
Staros said he's hopeful that Obama will find the right balance between remembering Hadiya and pointing out the excellent academic performance of King's seniors.
"There's more to our school than someone who got shot," Staros said. "It's important to remember, but also to celebrate."
"I'm very excited, I think it's awesome," said Cathy Dale, the community representative on the King Local School Council, who heard the news late Tuesday morning. "I can't think of any other word to describe it besides awesome."
Along with a 94 percent graduation rate, King has a 100 percent college graduation acceptance rate, the White House said.
Obama also will speak at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, and Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Ala.
"All of these institutions are doing their part to answer the president's call to ensure America once again has the highest proportion of college graduates in the world," the statement said.
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