May 1st, college commitment day, now called Reach Higher, became a national event started by Michelle Obama 2014 in the West Coast. The intention for this is for people like Obama, that were discouraged from even applying or attending certain colleges, are celebrated for their hard work.
On May 1, 2019, Obama attended UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion to do this event. It was possible with the help of McDonald’s, the University of California, College Board, and a couple other organizations. While waiting for this event to start there were a couple of entertainment events going on such as some sororities were stepping – a dance from African American descent, there was an Indian dance with current hip music, and there was a Baile Folklorico – traditional Mexican dancing. This came to an end within 30 minutes before the show started. While they were just playing music, one of the members of the audience began dancing in his seat and the crowd cheered him on. He eventually moved on to the stage and danced for everybody.
The UCLA band and cheerleaders started the show with a couple of their songs and dances. They eventually began the show with a variety of celebrities who talked and performed for the audience. Bebe Rexha, a pop singer, performed her song Meant To Beand got her audience to sing along with her. John Legend, another singer, came out and spoke about his story, how he went to Penn State even though he did not need to for his career choice (singing). He stated how he still went to college and does not regret it because he met people and developed a broader perspective of the music industry. An NBA player from the Lakers and Woman’s Basketball Association players came on stage as well and they picked a student-athlete from the audience. They did this to prove how you can be both an athlete and a student.
More and more inspirational people came out and told their stories and raffled items. Of these people included characters from Austin and Ally, 13 Reasons Why, Vampire Diaries, and the Avengers. Once there were only 30 minutes left of the event, they brought out the former first lady, Michelle Obama. She was wearing a Compton College shirt to show support to community colleges. In her speech, she said community college is still a good college option and also said how in California has many great community colleges with high transfer rates. She elaborated in her story with explaining how she was told to aim lower and that she was dreaming too high. Yet, she went to Princeton and Harvard Law School. She spoke about how anything is possible and that the audience puts in the work and they should be proud of it.
In the end, she went down towards the audience and interacted with them. I was lucky enough to attend this experience. It made me realize how I have accomplished so many things that I have chosen to ignore it.
Reporter: Jennifer Neri