Last month, President Barack Obama traveled to Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, Tennessee, to deliver the commencement address. Behind the scenes, Ambrose grad Chad Denning ('94, bachelor of arts in mass communication - radio/TV/film) worked to make the occasion possible. Denning helped the high school students win the right to have the president speak at their graduation as part of a nationwide contest, MTV's Race to the Top Commencement Challenge. Denning, a Nashville-area video director and editor, was one of two professionals tapped to work with students as they created the winning video, demonstrating how their school is readying students for college and future careers.
Obama personally chose the winner and Denning was there when he addressed the graduates, whose school's graduation rate has leaped from 55 percent four years ago to 81 percent this year. "It's inspiring," says Denning. "A great majority of these kids live in poverty but through determination, and teachers and administrators who push them to succeed, they are overcoming the odds. I was honored to mentor them as teachers at Ambrose mentored me."