Some Diamond Bar High School students were given the opportunity to attend a meeting featuring former first-lady Michelle Obama who spoke to them about the importance seeking education past high school .
The trip was sponsored by the Council of African American Parents nonprofit organization, which meets every Sunday to discuss education with students, including college options and the relevance of African American culture in the educational system.
The May 1 event is part of Obama’s Reach Higher initiative, which supports U.S. students seeking post high school education. As stated on the Reach Higher website, Obama utilizes her experiences as a first-generation college student to show students from low-income families or students who are the first in their family to attend college how they can take charge of their future by pursuing higher education.
“I was glad she said all that because some students still need that guidance to get on the right track,” senior Melvin Houston said via Messenger.
Obama’s purpose for Reach Higher is to inform students that in order to achieve the American Dream, they must finish a higher level education degree. In this initiative, she also highlights key points revolving around the current expectations held by businesses looking to hire people in terms of education.
During the College Signing event, Obama shared her story of getting negative feedback from her high school counselor, who claimed she was not the right fit for Princeton. She eventually overcame this dismissal and ended up graduating with recognition and a degree in sociology, going on to study at Harvard Law School.
Her fervor and passion toward education, along with her ability to connect with the many students going through a situation similar to hers, is what drove her to launch her program. This year’s college signing was Obama’s sixth time working with Reach Higher and her first on the West Coast.
Introduced by late-night host Conan O’Brien, Obama thanked the crowd of 10,000 students in attendance.
“We are here today for all of you,” Obama said in an interview to the Los Angeles Times. “I want you all to know you personally are about to make the best investment that you can possibly make.”
Obama held the meeting with the help of several other celebrities, including John Legend, Usher and Don Cheadle.
Senior Darius Cramer, who attended the college signing day, expressed his gratitude toward the event.
“I actually got a chance to meet Michelle Obama, like face to face, and that was an amazing experience,” Cramer said.