U.S. Education Secretary to Visit New York to Tour Aviation High School and Deliver Hostos Community College Commencement Address

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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will travel to New York on Friday, June 7, to visit Aviation High School and hold a roundtable with students and business leaders, and to deliver the commencement address to Hostos Community College graduates. On the school visit, which begins at 12:30 p.m., Duncan will be joined by Brenda Dann-Messier, the U.S. Department of Education's assistant secretary for adult and vocational education. Duncan and Dann-Messier will moderate a roundtable that will focus on how redesigned high schools will ensure that students graduate with college credit and career-related experience, putting these high school graduates on a path to career and college success. A media availability will follow.

Aviation High School is among the largest and foremost public aviation schools in the nation. It is a uniquely specialized, co-educational high school that prepares students for careers in aviation maintenance and the aerospace industry. Students complete rigorous programs that provide excellent preparation for both college and aviation-related careers.

Aviation High symbolizes the type of school envisioned by the administration’s proposed High School Redesign program. The $300 million effort would fund competitive grants to districts partnering with postsecondary institutions, businesses and nonprofits to help ensure that all students graduate from high school with college credit and career-related experience.

Later that afternoon, Duncan will deliver the commencement address to approximately 800 graduates during Hostos Community College commencement ceremonies. He will congratulate the graduates on their achievements and also call on them, in the tradition of Eugenio María de Hostos—the Puerto Rican educator and human rights advocate for whom the school is named—to be “patriots of humanity.” Duncan will encourage graduates to draw on their resources of community, diversity and a great education; to serve others; and to help solve today's challenges.

Hostos Community College, part of the City University of New York system, was established in 1968 to meet the higher education needs of people in the South Bronx. The college has grown from its initial enrollment of 623 in 1970 to more than 7,000 students in 2012. Retention and graduation rates are up, and enrollment has doubled over the past decade.