Earlier this month, Gilbert and I were honored to take part in the 5th Annual College Signing Day, hosted by Former First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her Reach Higher initiative at the Temple’s Liacouras Center, in Philadelphia.
As we walked into the center, we could feel the energy of the 5,000 students, mainly from all over Philadelphia, proud and excited to take the pledge to pursue higher education. We were lucky to bring 18 Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) scholars to experience the celebration, including Generation 1st Degree and El Rancho High School alumni, Karen Lopez, who is currently enrolled at George Washington University and a Better Make Room intern.
Karen joined several Better Make Room interns and CHLI scholars to meet Mrs. Obama during the event, and rub elbows with celebrities including Bradley Cooper, Rebel Wilson, Zendaya, Robert De Niro, Camila Cabello, Questlove, Anthony Mackie and Janelle Monae. I’m grateful that through the partnerships we’ve developed through the Cisneros Foundation and Generation 1st Degree-Pico Rivera, we can provide inspiring and life-changing experiences to our students, such as College Signing Day and meeting Mrs. Obama.
Nationwide, 600,000 students were registered to participate, with events happening in 2,000 locations, including right here in Pico Rivera, where El Rancho High also celebrated College Signing Day. Nearly 140 of our Generation 1st Degree students are continuing on to college. Gilbert and I have dedicated the last several years to creating programs and opportunities for our students to reach higher, and it’s very rewarding to see our students like Karen thriving at their colleges, and our current senior high school class committing to higher education. You all did it! I am so proud of all of your accomplishments and the road ahead. Congratulations Class of 2018!