According to a White House press release, First Lady Michelle Obama will host a college signing day in New York City. She has held this event previously in Detroit and San Antonio as part of her Reach Higher Initiative. This year it will be held in New York's Harlem Armory, with over 4,000 students in attendance.
Her motivations behind signing day events are clear. She wants to bring the same enthusiasm and support that is thrown behind athletes to students who go to college. A 2015 White House press release refers to college as a "monumental milestone," in which the country should celebrate with the same fervor. At last year's event in Detroit, she gave a high-energy speech, "shining more light on the real path to success for young people in this country." Also, she urges them to push forward. Though glorifying college, she struck a balance without sugarcoating it: "It is not going to be easy." Obama, a first generation college student, tells students that if she can do it, so can they.
Obama started the Reach Higher initiative in 2014 to “encourage 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." Her initiative urges students to "take charge of their future" because, "in today's economy, a high school diploma isn't enough." The end goal of the initiative is the "North Star"--that by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.
This is not First Lady Obama's first bout with education. A Princeton and Harvard Law graduate, education has been a major part of her life. She has been an advocate for higher education not only through Reach Higher, but also an initiative called Let Girls Learn, in partnership with the Peace Corps, for the 62 million girls around the world who are not enrolled in school.
Learn more about her initiatives on Twitter at: @reachhigher, @bettermakeroom and @letgirlslearn.
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