PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s down to the final phase and the heat is on at CAPA High School where students are competing with five other schools across the country to snag the President as their commencement speaker.
It’s crunch time as 136 seniors at CAPA tape 10 hours of video, and will have 10 hours to edit it all down to a three-minute entry.
The Race to the Top Commencement Challenge contest invites public schools across the country to demonstrate how their school best prepares them for college and a career.
The prize is President Barack Obama as the commencement ceremony speaker.
“About 72 hours ago is when it all started,” said Melissa Pearlman, CAPA principal. “They got the news and our senior literary artists got together and started crafting their story boards, their script, the ideas of what they wanted to convey.”
In the portion they were taping Wednesday morning, students went from the chemistry lab to the gym, where a healthy body generates a smart mind.
Viacom, a founding partner in the challenge, works with each school in producing the video portion. Tony Anderson, a reporter for BET News, is the advisor for CAPA.
“These students have a bright future, whether we win or not – we’re going to win between you and I – these kids are it,” said Anderson. “Take a look at them, they’re the future.”
“We want them to see that we’re a family, that we take the arts really seriously and that CAPA helps us grow,” added Olivia Meyer, a CAPA senior.
The other schools that are finalists in the competition are located in Washington state, North Carolina, Tennessee, New Jersey and California.
“I think the main message we’re trying to convey is that not only are we a family, but we’re also devoted to our craft and bettering ourselves and advancing,” said Saja Owens, a CAPA senior.
CAPA High School’s graduation is set for June 12.