Investing in Innovation (i3) Grant Winner


April 2015   


Education Secretary Honors Diplomas Now and Booker T. Washington Senior


Left to right: City Year team leader John Leverston, school transformation facilitator Derrick Moore, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Moises Arzu

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan applauded Moises Arzu, a senior at Booker T. Washington High School in Miami, at an event in Washington, D.C., Thursday to push for a new Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Duncan praised Moises on his transformation from a troubled ninth grader to a successful senior headed to Fisk University and recognized the progress of Booker T. Washington High School, where only about half of the students graduated four years ago.


"Hard-working teachers, fantastic City Year corps members, and school counselors came together to transform the school through an effort called Diplomas Now. And with federal support for their intensive, innovative, hands-on approach, they created real opportunities for Moises and his peers to succeed," said Duncan.


"Their collective efforts in a short amount of time are paying off: today, about 80% of students graduate from Booker T. Washington, and more than half of them are headed to college. Same building, same neighborhood, same families, same challenges. But a very different set of expectations and support, and very different results."


Moises, school transformation facilitator Derrick Moore and City Year team leader John Leverston attended the Washington, D.C., event honoring the 50th anniversary of Congress passing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. "To help more students walk that path through college and to college, a new law must invest in innovative strategies like the ones at his high school that expand opportunity and to improve outcomes for all students," Duncan said.


Moore said, "It was an awesome experience for us all, especially Moises, who never imagined having the opportunity to have the U.S. Secretary of Education make remarks about him, his school, and the important people who helped him get to where he is today."


Moises said he was inspired by his conversation with Duncan. "He's a regular guy who gives regular guys like myself hope and the confidence to accomplish extraordinary feats like him." 


To read the full remarks, click here.








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