Michelle Obama’s Final Remarks as First Lady: Reach Higher

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama acknowledge the crowd after the President spoke at Coral Reef Senior High School, Fla., March 7, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama acknowledge the crowd after the President spoke at Coral Reef Senior High School, Fla., March 7, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver her final remarks as First Lady at the 2017 School Counselor of the Year event Friday in the East Room of the White House. School Counselor of the Year is an annual White House tradition started in 2015 by Mrs. Obama.

As part of her Reach Higher initiative, Mrs. Obama has championed school counselors and encouraged post-secondary education for students across the country.

Awardees from all 50 states are selected by the American School Counselor Association, based on criteria including: creative school counseling innovations, effective school counseling programs, leadership skills, and contributions to student enhancement.

[ Education Dilemma: Let Us Save the Lives of Our School Children ]

Prior to the First Lady’s remarks, awardees and guests will attend a panel featuring Education Secretary John B. King Jr., former Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Friday Night Light’s actress Connie Britton, 2016 School Counselor of the Year Katherine Pastor, and First-Generation Baltimore Founder Verlando Brown.

The Reach Higher initiative is the First Lady’s effort to inspire every student in America to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a four-year college or university.

In today’s economy, a high school diploma just isn’t enough. Students have to reach higher, which is why the First Lady is working to rally the country around the President’s “North Star” goal — that by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

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Rakesh Raman