President Obama bypasses Bridgeport for speech

May 10, 2011

Students at tiny Bridgeport High School shed some tears Tuesday with news that President Barack Obama won't be giving the commencement address.

Five girls who helped make a video touting the school waited with the principal in her office for the call. They cried when the call came from the White House and waited in the office as other students filed into the gymnasium for the announcement.

The winner is Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, Tenn. The White House said hundreds of high schools competed for the honor.

It was the president himself who chose the eventual winner. The other finalist in the contest was High Tech High International in San Diego.

Teachers handed out small U.S. flags to the students and two teachers danced a jig in the gymnasium before Principal Tamra Jackson broke the news to the students.

Jackson said the school will get an Obama cabinet member as a speaker, but it wasn't known who that will be.

Senior Carina Ochoa says the students have put Bridgeport on the map.

The tiny school of 200 students serves primarily low-income, Hispanic families in Eastern Washington. All 37 of Bridgeport's seniors has been accepted to a college.