- Agassi Prep
“AT RISK FOR SUCCESS”
On June 12, 2009, the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy reached its greatest milestone since opening its doors: the first graduating senior class.
Administrators, teachers, school staff and the Agassi Foundation team came together with students, parents and generous donors to send off the class of 2009. The commencement speaker, Andre Agassi, told the students that their hard work had earned everyone’s respect and their achievements were an example for all to follow. He let them know that they inspired others more than they could know.
The students’ point of view was summed up by the school salutatorian Simone Ruffin, who said to wild applause, “Some along the way have short-sightedly labeled us as at-risk, well, we are at risk -- at risk of excellence, at risk of success,” she continued, “we are at risk of having a class where 100 percent of the students graduate and go to college.” Many families of the graduates cheered and held up signs during the festive evening, as each student received their diploma and took their picture with Andre and Agassi Prep Chancellor Marsha Irvin.
As Andre addressed the students he said, “There are few words that I use very sparingly, words that I save for only the most special occasion. Miracle is one of those words. But what we have here is a true miracle. Today every single student is going to walk across that bridge and get a diploma. Today we’re turning loose a passionate, disciplined, heartbreakingly smart class of young men and women to become a force for good in the world. Students, dare to plan. Sometimes it may seem that life is trying to thwart your plans. Sometimes they unravel. That’s just the nature of plans because they’re manmade. You’ll be fine as long as you know that you won’t unravel, you’re not manmade.”
The surprise event of the night was a framed letter given to Andre. Chancellor Irvin said it had come to the school that morning by courier. The letter read, “To the class of 2009, I am pleased to join in congratulating you upon your graduation. Our country needs more young people who serve as examples of academic achievement born of hard work and dedication. Each of the challenges that we face as a Nation calls for an America that is more purposeful and more united - an America that is not just about each of us, but all of us. I hope you will take up these challenges and make them your own… Please accept my best wishes as you go out into the world that is counting on you to help build a better tomorrow for us all.” Chancellor Irvin then read the return address on the envelope… 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It was signed, “Barack Obama.”
Creating Opportunities through Education
In 2001, the Foundation opened the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy (Agassi Prep), a public charter school that strives to provide children in Historic West Las Vegas with a first-class K-12 education to prepare them for excellence in college and beyond.
Agassi Prep was conceived in the belief that nothing has a greater impact on children’s lives than the education they receive, and that all children deserve outstanding academic experiences, regardless of what neighborhoods they live in. Ours is a climate of hope and high expectations, where we nurture children but also provide the focus and discipline they need to reach their potential and achieve their dreams.