BRIDGEPORT — The online race to win a commencement speech by President Barack Obama has begun between Bridgeport High School and five other schools around the nation.
The White House posted the six student-produced videos on WhiteHouse.gov/Commencement Thursday morning, along with short essays about why each school deserves of the prize.
Voters can rate the finalists on a scale of one to five, with one as the lowest rating and five as the highest. Votes must be cast by 9 p.m. April 29.
“We believe out of the six videos, we’re in the top three,” said Bridgeport Superintendent Scott Sattler.
Five seniors were charged with telling the story of Bridgeport High School: a rural, 200-student school that created a college-bound culture against all odds. The district doesn’t offer a video media class, so the students relied on a crew from MTV to train them how to shoot scenes with television cameras and edit their 10 hours of film down to 3 minutes.
“They had three days to produce the video,” Sattler said. “They worked so hard and were so committed.”
The students worked on the project from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Staff served them lunch and dinner to keep them going, Sattler said.
“One of the students said he’d never worked so hard in his life,” Sattler said. “They never really had a breakdown moment until the very end, when they realized MTV were leaving.”
There’s a certain electricity in the halls this week, Sattler said. The students and staff are ecstatic for being recognized.
“Folks are constantly calling us and saying they support us,” he said. “There’s a lot of excitement and energy. And, by golly, we want the president to come to town.”
The top three schools will be announced on May 2. Obama will choose the winner later that week.
Rachel Schleif: 664-7139