BOSTON President Obama will be the graduation speaker this spring at Worcester Technical High School. It will be his only high school graduation speech this year.
Principal Sheila Harrity surprised seniors with the news Thursday morning.
“It is absolutely, totally overwhelming,” Harrity told WBUR. “Everybody is talking, crying, hugging. They can’t believe the president is coming to Worcester.”
The White House issued a statement saying the school was selected because of its outstanding headway in boosting graduation rates, implementing cutting-edge vocational programs, and ensuring that all of its students have the opportunity to succeed.
“For the president to select Worcester Technical High School, we are beyond proud,” Harrity said. “We’re so proud, extremely humbled, greatly appreciative of this incredible opportunity.”
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan also visited the school last week to praise its technical education programs.
Worcester Tech is the largest of the city’s seven public high schools, with 1,400 students in 24 technical programs.
The vocational school moved into a $90 million, 400,000-square-foot campus in 2006.
According to The Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Bill Clinton was the last sitting president to visit the city, back in 1999.
Graduation day is June 11.
With reporting by the WBUR Newsroom and The Associated Press