UCLA Signing Day

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UCLA Signing Day

Photo courtesy of EJ Hersom

Photo courtesy of EJ Hersom

Photo courtesy of EJ Hersom

Dalton Flores, Photo Editor

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Thousands of college bound students from across California had the opportunity to be commended for their hard work at the University of California Los Angeles with Michelle Obama as a part of her Reach Higher Initiative on Wednesday, May 1st.

The Reach Higher College Signing Day is primarily for students who are the first in their family to go to college, however some students who have persevered through adverse circumstances have also been invited to share their college decision as well.

I am thankful for the people that supported and believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself,”

— Mackenzie Morley

“It makes me feel special that Michelle Obama is going to recognize the hard work of myself and other students who have not been given the opportunity to succeed as well as other students who have parents that have gone to college,” said Mackenzie Morley.

Morley will be receiving her Seal of Biliteracy and is also a member of NHS despite being a first generation college bound student. She has had to balance her school work and sports with helping her parents watch her two year old sister.

“I am thankful for the people that supported and believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself,” said Morley.

Morley plans on pursuing a career in which she can help people of lower income families and disadvantaged minorities.

“I’ve experienced what it’s like to live with financial difficulties caused by a lack of a college education. I look forward to getting a fulfilling career and being able to help my family financially,” said Morley.

As First Lady, Obama started Reach Higher to encourage students to take their future into their own hands, and pursue further levels of education after high school to better prepare them for joining the workforce and earn more money in the long run.

Reach Higher hopes to set more students up for success by exposing students to variety of college and career paths available to them. Also, they work to further the understanding of financial aid opportunities to increase college affordability. Reach Higher is able to help students across the country by using social media to more effectively get their message to the upcoming generations.

The program works for the best interest of the students by working with high school counselors to help more students get into college.

“Not only do three-quarters of the jobs in the 21st century require education and training beyond a high school diploma, but the average worker with a bachelor’s degree will earn approximately $1 million more than a worker who only has a high school diploma over the course of a lifetime,” according to Reach Higher.

Reach Higher was started by Obama in 2014, with Executive Director Eric Waldo. Obama now serves as the Advisory Board Chair alongside a team of highly qualified individuals who all share her dream.

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