Michelle Obama: College Signing Day

On Tuesday, April 26, First Lady Michelle Obama visited Harlem and was joined by dozens of celebrities and thousands of New York City high school seniors to celebrate National College Signing Day. And Summer Search was there, too!

21 graduating seniors from Summer Search New York City were in attendance at the FLOTUS’s third annual event to celebrate high school seniors choosing to pursue higher education, as part of her Reach Higher and Better Make Room initiatives.

The energy in the jam-packed Harlem Armory was high! Some of the celebrity special guests included Tracee Ellis Ross, Melissa McCarthy, Julianna Margulies, Carmelo and La La Anthony, Alessia Cara and Robert De Niro. Plus, comedian Jay Pharoah and rapper Common performed a version of Michelle Obama’s “Go to College” song.

But the excitement wasn’t just in Harlem. There were more than 1,000 College Signing Day events across the country, and plenty of activity on social media, with people sharing photos of themselves in their college gear in support of the new Class of 2020. Some of our staff even joined in!

Words from the First Lady

The highlight of the event was when Michelle Obama took the stage to address the room full of college-bound students.

She began by saying that she rejected the idea that only “signing days” of famous athletes are worth paying attention to, and that she wants to shift that focus to celebrate the “real role models,” the hard-working students.

She spoke about the challenges she faced being the first in her family to go to college, a common situation for Summer Searchers.

And we loved hearing her encourage everyone to not be afraid to ask for help, or as we like to say at Summer Search, “when in doubt, reach out.”

Recognition from the White House

We were excited to have our partners at Airbnb join us at College Signing Day. As you may remember, Airbnb has been working with Summer Search to provide our students and their families with travel coupons to book free Airbnb accommodations in order to visit colleges and attend freshman orientation weekends and graduation ceremonies — important milestones in any student’s life.

Well, at the event, the First Lady’s Better Make Room initiative formally recognized Airbnb for continuing this work in expanding college opportunity!

So now, our partnership is officially recognized by the White House, listed in their latest fact sheet called Celebrating Progress in Expanding College Opportunity for Every Student on College Signing Day. We’re so proud to share this honor with Airbnb, as we work together to make room for college dreams!

Get that Degree

The official deadline for college signings across the country is May 1. As all of our college-bound Summer Searchers make their final decisions, we’ll leave the last word of advice to the First Lady:  “The minute you get to college this fall, I want you to get back to work. The goal is to get that degree!” — Michelle Obama.