Zuckerberg attends opening of first San Francisco KIPP high school

September 17, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg studied at a private prep school, but today he's showing great interest in public schools. Three years ago he donated $100 million to New Jersey schools. Tuesday morning, he attended the opening ceremony for a new public KIPP charter school on 18th Street in San Francisco.

"It is my honor to welcome Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook," said KIPP San Francisco College Preparatory student Anthony Ramirez to an auditorium full of students.

Zuckerberg is known for his charitable donations to schools and KIPP charter schools in Newark, NJ benefited from his generosity. Tuesday, the head of Facebook paid a rare visit to the first KIPP high school in San Francisco.

Ramirez admits he hasn't been exposed to too many computers. He told us, "I don't have a Facebook account and I really didn't know who he was until a few weeks ago."

That changed on Tuesday for all 120 students who heard Zuckerberg talk about having dreams and never giving up.

"At that time, we were just building this little service for a community that we cared about, but maybe one day someone would build a version of this for the whole world, but surely it was not going to be us," said Zuckerberg.

He and other city officials including the mayor of San Francisco attended the opening of this high school.

KIPP stands for Knowledge Is Power Program. They have public charter schools in other cities and are known for preparing students in underserved communities for college.

"Since it's a new school, it's smaller. That means he has more time to have that one-on-one with all his teachers and his advisors," said Chanelle Wells, a parent.

According to KIPP administrators, students who attended one of their middle schools and went on to a KIPP high school did better than those who attended a traditional public high school.

"We knew there was a place for a KIPP high school in San Francisco," said principal Caroline Gifford.

This is the first charter school approved by the school district in years.

"So we're going to prove people wrong. We're going to show folks that it is totally possible to have two school communities, without own identifies, with their own values, with their own way of working," said San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Richard Carranza.

Enrollment for next year is now open. The deadline is November 21.


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