Elizabeth Morgan, Director of External Relations
First Lady Michelle Obama told high school seniors in San Antonio on Friday that U.S. competitiveness in the global economy depends on their success in higher education. Mrs. Obama also debuted “Reach Higher,” her new initiative to inspire every student in America to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a four-year college or university.
“This unprecedented support from the First Lady and creation of ‘Reach Higher’ present a unique opportunity to unite and amplify efforts across the U.S. to help more underrepresented students complete higher education,” Kim Cook, NCAN’s executive director, said. “There could be no better national spokesperson to encourage more students to be the first in their families to go to college.”
Mrs. Obama spoke at San Antonio’s fourth annual College Signing Day, which recognizes the date that most high school seniors must inform a college of their plans to enroll. It is modeled on the NCAA’s National Signing Day to reinforce that excellence in the classroom deserves as much celebration as athletic achievement.
“Signing days like this shouldn’t just be for all-American athletes—but they’re for all Americans, period,” Mrs. Obama told the crowd of students wearing t-shirts from their soon-to-be colleges and universities. The White House also conducted a social media campaign on Friday, asking students and alumni around the country to post pictures wearing their college insignia using #ReachHigher.
Wearing a t-shirt from her undergraduate alma mater, Princeton University, Mrs. Obama gave students advice about how to make it through, not just to, college: Find friends, identify an advisor who will answer any question, go to class, and ask for help when needed. She also led students in a “Reach Higher” pledge:
“I believe in myself and my future.
I commit to enroll in college.
I commit to persevere when I get there.
I commit to graduate.
And no matter what, I commit to always reach higher – for myself, for my family, and for my community.”
Mrs. Obama praised San Antonio for its efforts to promote a college-going culture, describing the city as “a community coming together to lift up their young people and help them fulfill every bit of their potential.” San Antonio has set a goal for 80 percent of its graduating high school seniors to enter college. College Signing Day is part of Destination College, a week of free events started by Mayor Julián Castro to celebrate San Antonio as both a college town and a college-going town. Three NCAN member organizations are partners in the citywide coalition that produces Destination College: the San Antonio Education Partnership, the Trinity University chapter of Advise Texas/College Advising Corps, and Good Samaritan Community Services.
Read a transcript of the First Lady’s remarks. Also check out great national and local media coverage from Michael Graczyk of the Associated Press and Bekah McNeel of The Rivard Report.
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Category: College Access in the News , National