LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The stars came out early this afternoon on the UCLA campus – Celebrities and a former First Lady, that is.
Michelle Obama came to the 6th Annual College Signing Day, the event’s first-ever on the west coast.
“Hello, Los Angeles!” she told the more than 10,000 assembled. The group — all headed to college or the military — this fall.
Today’s event is part of the former first lady’s Reach Higher Initiative encourages young people to go to college, to attain their goals and to dream big.
Obama brought along many celebrity friends to also send the positive and encouraging messages.
But first — and sounding something like a cheerleader — she gave it her own college try.
“I love you guys. I’m so proud of you!” she said to wild applause. “And you did it — you got into the colleges of your choice.”
To bolster the messages of support there was singer Usher.
“If you don’t believe in your future no one else will,” he said.
There was Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony (EGOT) winner John Legend.
“I’m so glad all of you decided to reach higher,” he said.
There were also pro athletes, actors, performers, celebrities.
The future college students were impressed by all the luster — and the down to Earth messages.
“When you see people that are idols to us and they recognize we have potential, that we get to take grasp in that, and that we get to walk through that door they opened for us. and make sure that we not only keep a key for ourselves but for people around us,” said Alexis Villa Torres who is headed to UC Irvine.
“Seeing that I’m going with a bunch of students that come from similar backgrounds, it’s really good to see,” said Jessica Castillo who is on her way to UC Santa Barbara.
The event brought out students from all around LA county — most from lower income communities.
Andrea Cervantes is not only the first in her family to go to college but the first to graduate from high school. She’s headed to Berkeley in the fall.
“I come from a low income, first gen family. To know that I’m going to be the first to reach my dream, that I’ve had since I was young, it’s just fantastic knowing that I’m not just representing my family but I’m also representing my community,” Cervantes says.
“You all, Iam so proud of you please , please. keep working hard and be the best individuals you can be. Congratulations you guys, I love you so much,” Obama said.
Thanks to generous donations, there are now more than 3,000 college days held around the country.