High school graduation is always an exciting occasion. Add a special visit from the President of the United States, and commencement becomes a memory to last a lifetime. Yesterday, President Barack Obama delivered the graduation address at Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, the grand prize in the President’s “Race to the Top” High School Commencement Challenge.

The school earned the honor because of its tremendous academic gains, including a graduation rate increase from 55% to 82%. But to get the attention of the White House selection committee, the school also had to submit a compelling application. Booker T. Washington’s 3-minute promotional video should serve as a model for other schools: energetic, informative, creative, fast-paced, and starring students themselves. Check it out:

Media-savvy organizations know how to take full advantage of a high-profile event to generate publicity for their work. Kudos to our client Teach Plus, which capitalized on the Obama visit with a timely guest op-ed by Tamala Boyd in the Memphis Commercial Appeal, highlighting the role of reform-minded teachers in the transformation of Booker T. Washington High School.