“I believe that education is the single-most important civil rights issue that we face today,” said First Lady Michelle Obama in February 2015. “Because in the end, if we really want to solve issues like mass incarceration, poverty, racial profiling, voting rights, and the kinds of challenges that shocked so many of us over the past year, then we simply cannot afford to lose out on the potential of even one young person. We cannot allow even one more young person to fall through the cracks.”
At the time, the First Lady was explaining her Reach Higher initiative, an 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. The First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative ties in with President Barrack Obama’s "North Star" goal — that by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.
Last year, support for the Reach Higher initiative reached all the way to American Samoa in the form of College Signing Day, in which every high school senior in the Territory was invited to sign a pledge reflecting the Reach Higher goals of completing their college education. The event, held at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) attracted several hundred high school seniors from all of Tutuila’s public and private schools to a two-hour program of information sharing, testimonies and entertainment, culminating in each senior signing the pledge and receiving a certificate for their participation.
This year, ASCC plans to once again offer College Signing Day for all high school seniors on Tuesday, April 26th, from 10 a.m. to noon in the College’s Lecture Hall. Hosted by the Division of Student Services under Dr. Emilia Le’i, the event is being coordinated by the Financial Aid Office. Financial Aid Officer Mr. Peteru Lam Yuen and his staff are currently preparing a fun and informative program centered not only on the importance of completing college, but also on the various forms of academic and financial assistance all potential college students should know about.
“Last year’s College Signing Day was a great success, and every student who came left with a better understanding of college life and how the enrollment process can be made easier,” said Mr. Lam Yuen. “We’re now using last year’s format as a model to improve on, and we cordially invite all high school seniors to join us.” The Financial Aid Officer clarified that all parents of high school seniors are welcome to attend along with their sons and daughters. For more information on this month’s College Signing Day, contact the ASCC Financial Aid Office at 699-9155, extension 425.