Atlanta’s Historic Booker T. Washington High School First to Receive Designation as Part of Revamped Program Recognizing Organizations Providing All Five Promises


ATLANTA and WASHINGTON, DC—America’s Promise Alliance (the Alliance) and State Farm® today announced a new partnership to locate and recognize Promise Places across the country. A Promise Place is a school, church, community organization, business or any other place that provides all Five Promises—caring adults; safe places; a healthy start; an effective education; and opportunities to help others—to young people. The announcement was made earlier today by Alliance Chair Alma Powell and State Farm® Chairman and CEO Ed Rust Jr. at Booker T. Washington High School (Washington High) in Atlanta, GA—a new Promise Place.

As part of this new partnership, State Farm will serve as the Presenting Sponsor of the Promise Places program, engaging its 100,000+ team members to help locate and nominate Promise Places in the communities where they live and serve. Encouraging young people to stay in school and become better prepared for college and the workforce will be a major focus in the revamped Promise Places program, now a key strategy in the Alliance’s Grad Nation campaign. Grad Nation is a 10-year effort to mobilize all Americans to take action to reduce the nation’s high school dropout rate.

“The State Farm organization is a proud partner with America’s Promise Alliance and believes strongly that all children deserve the Five Promises in their lives,” said Edward Rust Jr., chairman and CEO, State Farm®. “As a business, we understand the importance of joining our community partners in helping assure that all children receive the support system they need to be successful. We’re pleased to be able to work with Promise Place designees across the nation as they deliver on the Promises for our children.”

First launched in 2009, the Promise Places program seeks to raise awareness of local outlets providing all Five Promises—the essential life, health and academic resources—to young people, while strengthening the Alliance’s relationships with organizations on a local level. Promise Places serve as a model for youth development and support the mission and goals of the Alliance and its Grad Nation campaign.

“Changing outcomes for young people and reversing the dropout crisis is a job that will take the efforts of each and every one of us,” said Marguerite W. Kondracke, president and CEO, America’s Promise Alliance. “We know that increasing access to the Five Promises for more youth exponentially improves our chances of succeeding as a nation. Our Promise Places are examples of how this work can be done and are key allies in our Grad Nation campaign.”

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Washington High opened in 1924 as the first high school for African Americans in the state of Georgia. Its legacy of education and empowerment is exemplified in its long roster of prestigious alumni including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Lena Horne and Dr. Louis A. Sullivan, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Washington High was selected as a Promise Place because of its emphasis on the importance of diversified education. Washington High has undergone comprehensive school reform and has been transformed into four small schools which together serve as personalized, college preparatory institutions that build academic skills, and allow students to earn college credit, explore careers, and get hands on experience in their chosen fields of study and work. Each school—Early College School; School of Banking, Finance and Investment; School of Health, Science and Nutrition; and the Senior Academy—is independently governed by a principal and staff, but work collaboratively to offer students a world class education.

The schools within Washington High work with the community to ensure students receive the Five Promises. Partners in this work include: Art Access Program; Atlanta Job Corps; Atlanta Technical College; Capital City Bank & Trust, Inc.; Chick Fil-A; Communities In Schools; Georgia State University; Morehouse School of Medicine; Project GRAD Atlanta; Spelman College; Teach for America; and the Ritz-Carlton Atlanta, among others. The impact of this work is exemplified in the success of Washington High students, who have received nearly $30 million in scholarships over the last two years, including six 2011 Gates Millennium Scholars, the highest in the district. It has also been designated by the Anti-Defamation League as a “No Place for Hate” school.

“We are elated to receive this recognition of being named a Promise Place,” said Dr. Samuel Scavella, principal, School of Health, Science and Nutrition at Washington High. “Our teachers, administrators, students, parents, community, business partners, and alumni work extremely hard to collaborate and create an environment in which all students can be safe to explore learning at the highest level in preparation for post secondary options and to be contributors in society.”

Currently, there are more than 700 designated Promise Places in all 50 states. In order to be considered, entities must either complete an application or be nominated by an outside party. Nominations and applications provide details on how the nominee/applicant is delivering the Five Promises to the young people they serve, as well as specific examples of the impact their work is having. All Promise Places must re-apply after one year to maintain their status. The ability to nominate organizations and re-apply after one year are new elements of this program. In addition, the Alliance and State Farm have created a guide to assist potential Promise Places in applying. To view the guide or learn more about Promise Places, visit

The Alliance’s research brief, Every Child, Every Promise (ECEP), found that children and youth receiving four of the Five Promises are far more likely to be successful, twice as likely to get A’s, twice as likely to avoid violence and 40 percent more likely to volunteer. Moreover, the research showed that receiving four out of five of these basic resources has the potential to level the playing field for youth across racial and economic lines.

America’s Promise Alliance is the nation’s largest partnership organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth by raising awareness, supporting communities, and engaging in nonpartisan advocacy. Through our Grad Nation campaign, we harness the collective power of our partner network to mobilize Americans to end the high school dropout crisis and prepare young people for college and the 21st century workforce. Building on the legacy of our Founding Chairman General Colin Powell, the Alliance believes the success of our young people is grounded in the Five Promises – caring adults; safe places; a healthy start; an effective education; and opportunities to help others. For more information about America’s Promise Alliance, visit

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