First Lady Michelle Obama Launches 'Reach Higher' Initiative at SA2020 College Signing Day

May 2, 2014

First Lady Michelle Obama visited the University of Texas at San Antonio today as part of SA2020’s  College Signing Day. She announced The White House is launching its own education initiative called Reach Higher.

The Convocation Center at UTSA was filled with more than 2000 high school students on the verge of graduation. Each separated by the universities they planned to attend.

This is the capstone event of SA2020’s Destination College Week – where students sign their intent to go to college.  First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to the crowd of students with a message of reaching higher in their education.

“To compete you have got to reach higher. The fact is a generation ago our county had the highest percentage of college graduates in the world. But today we have dropped all the way to twelfth and that’s unacceptable, right?" Mrs. Obama said.  "That’s not who we are and all of you have a role to play to help get us back on top.”

The First Lady was tapped to visit by the Department of Education which is taking note of Mayor Julian Castro’s education initiative with SA2020. Castro said students like these are the hope for becoming a more educated community.

“San Antonio wants to play its part in helping the United States become the world’s leader again in the number of college graduates," Castro said. "We have our own role to play and these students are playing it."

The First Lady's Reach Higher Initiative aims to bring the U.S. back to the top spot.

“The education you get today won’t just help you compete. It’s going to help our entire country compete in a global economy," she said. "So with this initiative, we’re going to make sure that every student in this country understands what they need to do to complete their education and take their place on that world roster."

SA2020 wants 80 percent of graduating seniors in San Antonio to enroll in college by 2020. The White House also has a goal of an additional five million community college graduates and the U.S. reclaiming the highest proportion of graduates by the  same year.