College Signing Day 2016!

By: Princess Lyles, Executive Director of Democracy Builders

Democracy Builders was delighted to help host Mrs.Obama’s final College Signing Day event as First Lady with MTV at the Harlem Armory last year. Over 5,000 students from every borough of New York City and beyond attended the College Signing Day event. The atmosphere was electrifying and most importantly, the students had a great time. There was music, great vibes, lots of selfies, and college paraphernalia everywhere. The best part was that everyone in attendance was energized and enthusiastic about representing the college or university they were heading off to in the fall.

College Signing Day events help build a college going culture for young students. The day is all about glorifying how cool it was to be smart and celebrate students on their way to college. Seyenah Lopez, now a freshman at the University of Connecticut attended the event and shared that,

“I think the piece of advice that resonated with me the most was when Michelle Obama stated her opinion about never giving up. It’s so easy to feel like abandoning your dreams especially in education when things don’t go your way. After hearing Michelle Obama’s story and seeing how successful she had been because she didn’t give up really speaks volumes. The reality that she was there rooting for us to prosper in life inspired me to push myself until I reach the top.” — Seyenah Lopez

We need more students to believe in themselves and want to go to college. It would be helpful to always have PSA’s on social media about the importance of getting a college education, with celebrity appearances thrown in for good measure of course! In order to change the odds for students who have historically had a tougher time completing college; we need everyone on board to ensure their success. College Signing Day is a huge step in the right direction to highlighting the importance of college success for all students.

Many partnering schools shared their student’s excitement about #CollegeSigningDayHarlem2016. Saylin Gomez, a Senior at Bronx Prep High School, shared how,

“Attending College Signing Day made me realize that education was very valuable and can me take places where I want to be in life”.

We want to instill this belief in all of our students, therefore every high school student across the country should have access to a College Signing Day event. The event is especially important in instilling a sense of pride and purpose for our younger high school students about the importance of going to college. Many times they are the first in their family to go to college, so going to college is not the “norm” at home. College Signing Day helps them realize their potential early on by giving them the time to work hard, get good grades and participate in activities that will give them a competitive edge when they are ready to apply.

At Democracy Builders we believe there is a college that is right for every student and that every student should have access to a college education.

Simply put, we heart College Signing Day and hope to see events popping up across the country that are bigger and better every year. Our kids deserve it, and our collective future as a nation depends on it.

We’re counting down to May 5th by launching a College Signing Day blog series! Over the next two weeks we’ll highlight stories written by students who have participated in a college signing day celebration and what it meant to them. We’ll also feature stories from school counselors, teachers, districts and states who have celebrated College Signing Day and the impact it’s had on their schools and communities.

Check back each day for a new story leading up to May 5th! #BetterMakeRoom #ReachHigher