With graduation season fast approaching, First Lady Michelle Obama is encouraging high school students to continue on to college.
More than 4,000 New York City high school seniors joined the First Lady on Tuesday for her third annual College Signing Day at the Harlem Armory.
The event is part of Mrs. Obama’s Reach Higher initiative, which informs students how to attain an education beyond high school. Among other things, the program advises students about paying for college and academic planning.
Several celebrities appeared with Mrs. Obama in New York, including Carmelo Anthony, Common, Melissa McCarthy and Jay Pharoah. In addition to the Harlem event, more than 1,000 College Signing Day events were planned in almost every state.
As part of the initiative, Mrs. Obama launched a public awareness campaign called Better Make Room last October. The campaign, which focuses on Generation Z (14-19), leverages a range of media platforms “to celebrate students” who pursue higher education with the same zeal that celebrities are covered. It utilizes Hollywood idols and sports icons to share the message.
In December, the First Lady collaborated with College Humor, The Gregory Brothers, and Jay Pharoah to record the rap video “Go To College,” which was performed at the Harlem Armory.
All these efforts are aimed at opening the doors to a better future—especially for disadvantaged students. The message is that completing a college degree is key to entering the middle class and living a healthier life.
According to the White House, earning a college degree quadruples the chances of someone born in poverty to climb into the high socioeconomic brackets. Yet fewer than 10 percent of those from low-income households earn a bachelor’s degree by age 25, compared to over 50 percent of students born into upper-income households.
Mrs. Obama urged everyone to wear their college gear on College Signing Day and to engage with the initiative on social media through #CollegeSigningDay and #BetterMakeRoom.