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Eastside Memorial wins 2016 Rather Prize at SXSWedu

School awarded $10,000 for idea to improve education in Texas

Eastside Memorial High School is the 2016 winner of the Rather Prize, a statewide competition that recognizes the best idea for improving Texas education.
"This idea was chosen as the best out of hundreds from across the state of Texas. Thousands of people voted for Dr. Jeames and Eastside Memorial to win the inaugural Rather Prize, and we are honored to help promote a truly fantastic idea to improve education in Texas," said Martin Rather, co-founder of the Rather Prize.
The winning Eastside Memorial proposal is called the STEP Up Challenge, which stands for Student Training and Enrichment Project. The project involves mentoring, leadership through service and pathways to college.
"I'm so proud of our Eastside Memorial students and staff for winning the prestigious Rather Prize," said AISD Superintendent Paul Cruz. "We look to our students to find solutions every day so that they know they have the ability, voice and know-how to change the world. I believe in our students and staff!"
The proposal includes academic counseling, worksite experiences and college readiness workshops to motivate high school students to step up to, accept and overcome the challenges presented to them.
The winners of the award receive $10,000 to be used for any educational expense and will present their idea at SXSWedu. The feasibility of the idea will by studied by the Rice University Center for Civic Leadership.
Former television news anchor Dan Rather and his grandson Martin Rather, author of "The High School Truth," are the co-founders of the Rather Prize.
The prize is open to teachers, students, administrators and those who attended a Texas educational institution within the past three years.
For more information about the Rather Prize, please visit
Austin ISD is the largest school district in Central Texas, serving more than 83,000 students at 130 schools. Follow AISD on Twitter at @AustinISD or on Facebook at