Michelle Obama Makes Unannounced Visit to DC School to Mark College Signing Day

Former First Lady Michelle Obama surprised high school students from Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia to celebrate College Signing Day and their choice to go to college.

She said, “Look, on a day when so much is about looking ahead, I just want to take a little moment to look back with you all. Because I know it has been a long, hard road for all of you to make it to this day… and [there] has been nothing normal about this journey, especially that your class has been through.”

Obama spoke at Capital One Arena on Tuesday. She praised the students for staying in school during the COVID-19 pandemic and encouraged them to sign up for FAFSA, the federal student aid form.

Despite missing out on regular high school experiences and having classes online, the students persevered and are now ready to graduate, she said.

“Now, I know that even on a day like this… maybe some of you are feeling some trepidation, some nerves about what’s to come… especially if you are a first-generation college student like I was,” Obama said.

Michelle Obama Makes Unannounced Visit to DC School to Mark College Signing Day
Former First Lady Michelle Obama

She shared how she felt doubtful before going to college but wanted to talk to students to encourage them. This year is the tenth anniversary of Obama’s Reach Higher program.

“My goal then was to make sure that every student realized the importance of getting their education beyond high school and to ensure that everyone had the resources, information, and the tools to make that happen,” she said.

“But, more importantly, I wanted students to know that higher education wasn’t just for the privileged few, for the kids with connections and money who were expected to fill those seats on college campuses.”

Obama announced that Reach Higher was teaming up with Common App, an undergraduate college admission application that lets students apply to over 1,000 schools.

The event was organized by the DC College Access Program (DC-CAP) and brought 2,500 students to celebrate their achievements. Obama was joined by DC-CAP President Eric Waldo, DC-CAP Board Chairman Ted Leonsis, and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser.

“You’ve got a community of people around you, including me and Barack, who is sending his love to you all too,” Obama told the students. “We are rooting for your every step of the way.”

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