As the new school year gets underway, former first lady Michelle Obama released a video appealing to high schoolers to commit to a college education so they can build a better future for themselves and their community.
“The fact is we need you. We need you out there fighting injustice and curing diseases,” Obama said on the video. “We need you building businesses and leading communities and preparing the next generation of kids for the challenges they’ll face. And to do all that, you’re going to need the best education possible.”
Her message was part of a back to school campaign for Better Make Room, a nonprofit organization which provides a space for students facing challenges to unite, create, connect and make a commitment to their future.
The former first lady’s passion for inspiring young people to pursue higher education wasn’t new. While still in the White House, Obama spearheaded the administration’s Reach Higher initiative, which informed students about how to attain an education beyond high school. Among other things, the program also advised them on topics such as how to pay for college and about academic planning.
In 2016, she led a rally that included more than 4,000 New York City high school seniors for her third annual College Signing Day at the Harlem Armory under the program.
After leaving the White House, she made surprise visits to high schools in low-income communities to inspire struggling students. In March 2017, Obama surprised Ballou STAY High School in the District of Columbia and spoke with 14 students for two hours, moving some of them to tears over her concern for their future.
“Every single one of you has something to offer, something that only you can bring to this world. And I can’t wait to see what you all achieve in the months and years ahead,” Obama said in the video.