44ºF

Education theme for first lady's San Antonio trip

Michelle Obama visits UTSA for College Signing Day

photo

On her visit Friday to UTSA, First Lady Michelle Obama led thousands of high school seniors from San Antonio and across South Texas in their College Signing Day pledge.

They stood, their right hands raised.

After ending with "no matter what, I commit to reach higher for myself, for my family and my country," they erupted in applause.

The First Lady now has a Reach Higher Initiative that somewhat mirrors Mayor Julian Castro's Destination College weeklong event topped off by College Signing Day.

Castro said four years ago, 200 graduating seniors took part. On Friday, 2,100 filled the UTSA Convocation Center. Many of them are the first in their families to attend college.

To mark the occasion, the First Lady wore her undergraduate Princeton T-shirt. Her audience boasted their chosen colleges and universities.

But as Mrs. Obama was quick to point out, now they've committed to attend those schools, "This means you just raised the bar for yourself."

She said getting their degrees will take persistence, focus and determination.

"There are going to be times when you feel like you're going to fail," she said.

The First Lady said she felt overwhelmed when she arrived at Princeton.

"I didn't have any friends. I didn't know how to pick my classes. I didn't even bring the right sized sheets for my bed," she said.

Reyna Escetel, a senior at McCollum High School bound who will attend Northwest Vista College, was among those who got the message.

"To raise the bar because we can achieve the things we think we can achieve," Escetel said.

Mario Flores, who will be enrolling at Texas State University in San Marcos, said, "One thing I won't forget is actually completing college and work hard at it."

Obama closed her remarks by reminding the students, "You cannot break a promise to the First Lady of the United States of America. Come on now!"

Click here to watch the full speech.