Michelle Obama Promises Students on College Signing Day: 'Barack and I Will Keep Lifting You Up No Matter What House We Live In'

Former First Lady Michelle Obama helped more than 200 hundred college-bound students celebrate their success at a National College Signing Day event

MTV's 2017 College Signing Day With Michelle Obama - Inside
Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty

Better make room.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama and a slew of stars helped more than 200 hundred college-bound students celebrate their successes — and plan for their futures — at a National College Signing Day event in New York City on Friday.

The MTV-hosted event, held at The Public Theater, was a star-studded affair, emceed by Nick Cannon, and featuring appearances from Bella Hadid, Andy Cohen, Billy Eichner, Questlove, Donna Karan, Tamron Hall, Robin Roberts, Soledad O’Brien and more. It also included an acoustic performance by singer Daya, and a lively routine by the BLSYW step team, an all-girls dance squad from Baltimore featured in an upcoming documentary, Step.

But the students reserved by far the biggest round of applause for the “Forever First Lady,” as Cannon called her, who created College Signing Day four years ago as part of her “Reach Higher” initiative encouraging high school students to pursue higher education.

It’s a cause Obama says remains near and dear to her — and to former President Barack Obama as well.

“I might not live in the White House anymore, but Barack and I are going to keep on celebrating you all,” she said as she took the stage, “and supporting you and lifting you up no matter what house we live in.”

MTV's 2017 College Signing Day With <a href="https://people.com/tag/michelle-obama/" data-inlink="true">Michelle Obama</a> - Inside
Mike Coppola/Getty

“Our belief in the power of education to transform your life is real and it’s going to be at the core of everything we do going forward,” continued Obama, who wore a Princeton T-shirt and sneakers to the event. “So today we are celebrating because each and every one of you is taking the next step in your education.”

The former first lady also offered the students some wise words on social media (“The number of acceptance letters that you get should be more important than the number of followers you have on social media”), asking for help when you need it (“You’re not supposed to go through this on your own … Go out and build your base of support”), and surrounding yourself with people who challenge and inspire you (“You have to find your community in college — and it may take some time”).

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And after college graduation comes giving back.

“Remember this day,” she said. “Take this spirit and all this energy and bring it with you as you go on and go off and do great things. We will be watching you, hoping you come back and you share that energy and you give those gifts backs to your siblings, your community, to your neighborhood, to this country. We need you.”

Even more celebs honored College Signing Day from home.

Scandal‘s Kerry Washington tweeted out a photo of herself wearing a George Washington University hat. “Join me in celebrating #collegesigningday with @MichelleObama and thousands of students across the country,” she wrote, adding the hashtags #BetterMakeRoom and #ReachHigher.

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