Michelle Obama Celebrates College Signing Day in NYC

Getting into college is only half the battle, former First Lady Michelle Obama told a group of New York City students Friday.

The next challenge? Having the courage to ask for help.

“No one gets through college, or life, on their own,” Obama told the teens, who were gathered to celebrate College Signing Day. ” So when you hit those walls — and you will — don’t be surprised; don’t be shocked; don’t think it’s you; don’t think you’re not supposed to be there. Go get some help.”

More than 1,300 similar events — which honor college-bound students — were planned nationwide. The annual celebration, coordinated by Better Make Room, is aimed at increasing college access for low-income, minority, and first-generation students.

More than 200 high school seniors attended the star-studded Manhattan event. Actors, singers, athletes, and other celebrities, including Nick Cannon, Bella Hadid, Jidenna, Michael B. Jordan, and Zoe Kravitz, joined the former first lady on stage.

During her time at the mic, Obama urged students to find their niche on campus and encouraged them to seek out any support they may need to succeed academically.

She also shared her own path to college.

“Many of you know my story: I grew up on the South Side of Chicago; I was a working-class kid,” Obama told the students. “My parents didn’t go to college, but one thing I knew was that I needed to study hard, get good grades, and get to college.”

Obama completed her undergraduate studies at Princeton University. She later earned a law degree at Harvard University and credits her success today to higher education.

“I might not live in the White House anymore, but Barack and I are going to keep on celebrating you all and supporting you and lifting you up — no matter what house we live in,” Obama said. “Our belief in the power of education to transform your lives is real, and it’s going to be at the core of everything that we do going forward.”

Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org.

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