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WATCH: High School Students Celebrate College Signing Day with Michelle Obama

It’s been over a week and we are still smiling.

On May 1st, RaiseMe had the opportunity of joining Michelle Obama, Usher, John Legend, and many other celebrities at College Signing Day at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion, where we gathered to celebrate the tremendous success of graduating high school seniors and transferring community college students. College Signing Day is the pinnacle event of the Former First Lady’s organization, Better Make Room, which aims to support and celebrate students pursuing higher education. We are a proud partner of the program, and it was a privilege to participate in their event.

What made the day extra special? The awesome group of high school seniors who joined our RaiseMe team! Lily Annino, a senior at the California School of the Arts, San Gabriel Valley, and Laysha Rodriguez, a senior at The Palmdale Aerospace Academy, won RaiseMe’s video competition and landed tickets to College Signing Day! The two young women also brought friends, all seniors headed off to some awesome four-year universities and community colleges in the Fall.

The day was all about them. Celebrating their hard work over these past four years, and the next step in their academic journeys. As they are the stars, we want them to take center stage to talk about their experience pursuing education — what College Signing Day is all about.

Where are you headed next year and why?

“The community college that I’m going to is College of the Canyons and the reason being is it’s closer to the area where I’m hopefully going to be working, and I feel like it’s a better and smarter way to save money.”

– Joshua Alfaro, senior at The Palmdale Aerospace Academy


“When I visited Auburn’s campus I just had this feeling of family and friendship…I knew that that’s what I was looking for in a college, a community and a sense of love and respect for others…”

– Lily Annino, senior at California School of the Arts San Gabriel Valley


“Making the decision to go to Humboldt was kind of scary because I don’t have family up there so I am going to be on my own, but I saw the campus and I immediately felt like I belonged, that that’s where I should be.”

– Illiana Banda, senior at The Palmdale Aerospace Academy


What was the biggest challenge for you in high school?

“The most difficult thing was probably being a first generation student so I didn’t really have a lot of background information.”

– Laysha Rodriguez, senior at The Palmdale Aerospace Academy


What is your top piece of advice for younger students?

“If you have a goal, to set your mind to it and just keep trying…one little failure won’t set you back completely…it’s just what helps you get to your success in the future.”

– Tiffany Higuera, senior at The Palmdale Aerospace Academy


What were some highlights from College Signing Day?

“I felt inspired to try harder!”

– Lily Annino, Izelah Blanco, Julia Alfaro, Anise Contreras



Thank you, students! We are cheering for you in your next step towards higher education! As Michelle said at College Signing Day, “The road doesn’t end today.”

Samantha writes on topics facing students and parents for RaiseMe. She hopes her pieces can help equip students with the information they need to get to their best fit college. Outside of RaiseMe, you can find Samantha reading, writing more, and getting outside to explore all that the Bay Area has to offer.

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