Success Academy’s first high school graduation last June capped a tumultuous year. The charter network is hoping this year ends better for the 26 seniors in the high school’s second graduating class — and will welcome the president of Harvard University to help.
Lawrence Bacow, who became Harvard’s president in July 2018, will be the keynote speaker at Success’s second graduation in June, the 47-school network announced Monday.
“President Bacow’s leadership and commitment to educational access have expanded opportunities for countless students,” Success CEO Eva Moskowitz said in a statement. “He has inspired institutions and individuals alike to achieve their greatest potential, and it is so meaningful that he will speak to our graduating class.”
The chair of Success Academy’s network board of trustees, Steve Galbraith, also sits on the board of Tufts University, which Bacow led for a decade until 2011. Galbraith introduced the university president to the network, according to Ann Powell, a network spokeswoman, and Bacow toured the high school last month.
The school has a new principal this year after the school leader who started with the first graduating class left when they did. Brooke Rosenkrantz has had to steer the community in the aftermath of a teacher exodus, student and parent protest, and a podcast that aired the school’s growing pains for a national audience.
The “Startup” podcast called attention to the high school’s high student attrition rate. Last year, 16 seniors graduated after many members of the first ninth-grade class left, some saying they were pushed out, or were held back.
This year there are 26 seniors, Powell said, and all of them have already been accepted to college. The final admissions decisions from elite colleges like Harvard and Tufts will come in the next month.
News about Success’s June 6 commencement plans comes months before most city high schools nail down their graduation speakers, which are typically city officials or high-profile alumni.