Nick Cannon is a guest contributor for Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative. Read the article below or on Forbes.com.
Every once in a while, you hear about a celebrity or pro athlete who goes back to school to complete their college degree. Shaq. Bo Jackson. Michael Jordan. They already have fame, they’ve made money, and they’re living far, far beyond their wildest childhood dreams.
So, why? Why go back?
I never fully understood—until it was me. I’ve achieved some fame. I’ve made some money. I’ve accomplished goals I never even imagined as a child. And yet, I’m up late at night reading and writing; I get on a plane every week or so to attend classes at Howard University, and I’m forcing myself to squeeze out the time and summon the energy I need to complete my college education. Do you know why I do it?
While maintaining his high profile career in entertainment, Nick Cannon is enrolled at Howard University where he’s working to attain his college degree.
To reach higher.
I applaud and commend all of the young people I had the opportunity to spend time with at Michelle Obama’s College Signing Day event for graduating seniors. I found it to be remarkable how influencers from various fields came together to celebrate not only these young people’s accomplishments but to encourage them on their future.
I was honored when our former First Lady, or as I like to refer to her, my “Forever First Lady,” invited me to participate. It was such a powerful event and selfless occasion. It truly showed how much she continues to care for our youth and the importance of education in our great country.
It’s up to all of us, especially our youth, not to do more but to do better.
I make a great living, but I want to be a great businessman. I know the history of entertainment, but I want to write the future of entertainment. I’m pleased with my career so far, but I’m not satisfied. Never satisfied.
That’s why I have to always reach higher.
That day and that event taught me that our young people have a vision for their future, and I cannot rest until I bring that vision to life. That’s why Reach Higher’s College Signing Day inspired me to work even harder to get my college degree. I can’t think of a more rewarding experience I’ve had than being in a room filled with young people who feel the same way—happy, but not satisfied.
Nick Cannon joined former First Lady Michelle Obama for the 2017 College Signing Day at The Public Theater in New York City.
I’m grateful to Michelle Obama for creating the Reach Higher initiative and inviting me to participate. I’m thankful she is traveling the world to spread the simple message that young people have to aspire to more than a high school diploma in our modern economy. We have to reach higher. Do more. Be better. To become our best selves.
I have a message to the worldwide participants of the Reach Higher movement: see you at the top!
To learn more about Reach Higher, College Signing Day, and the Better Make Room campaign, visit www.bettermakeroom.org.
Today, Dr. Martha Kanter and Angela Cammack from the College Promise Campaign met with a group of higher education leaders from Mississippi and Alabama. The even, hosted by the University of Alabama, was a chance to discuss how to make college more affordable for students. The College Promise Campaign is dedicated to working all across the country to promote the expansion of free community college. To find out if there is a promise program near you, visit our website.
Today the United State of Women announced a new training program for young women called the Galvanize Program. Below is the letter from Valerie Jarrett announcing the program:
It was the honor of a lifetime to have served as Chair for the White House’s Council on Women and Girls under President Obama.
Last year, the Council hosted the first-ever United State of Women Summit, and the energy and enthusiasm in that room was like nothing I’ve ever seen. Throughout the program, we heard from women (and allies!) about how to break down gender equity barriers and empower ourselves as advocates on critical issues ranging from health, to violence against women, economic security, entrepreneurship, human rights, and education.
With those women in mind, and in partnership with advocates from every corner of the country, we fight for all women.
So, today The United State of Women is launching the Galvanize Program to build on the momentum of the Summit and bring the conversation to communities across the country. Galvanize will host mini-United State of Women Summits in six cities over the next year, bringing people together to discuss the challenges that women face and empower participants to become the next generation of local and national leaders. These summits will provide women with the tools and training they need to organize, to advocate for policy solutions, to run for office or to become an entrepreneur.
Registration is open in the first few cities, but you can add your name right now to be the first to get updates about when the Galvanize Program is coming to you.
Let’s pledge to work together all across America, to support each other, to defend our progress, and to make lasting change towards gender equality. I believe The Galvanize Program is a great place to start, so let’s get together, get organized, and create positive change for tomorrow.
The Civic Nation Creative Alliance hosted it’s bi-annual meeting on Friday. Now 55 companies strong, the Creative Alliance is a growing force for change. The purpose is to encourage Americans to know, care about and act on our nation’s challenges. It develops world-class strategies and kick-ass creative campaigns designed to rally people to action around Civic Nation’s causes. The alliance includes strategists, ad agencies, designers, producers, digital, innovators, PR agencies, platforms, artists, influencers and brands. To learn more about the Creative Alliance, email Director Zeppa Kreager at [email protected]
On Friday, May 5, Better Make Room and Reach Higher hosted Michelle Obama’s annual College Signing Day event. College Signing Day is national movement where schools and communities across the country shine a spotlight on students and make them the stars of the show. On this day, students share their plans for the future, rock their new college apparel, and are celebrated by everyone for their decision to pursue a higher education. It’s a day where we uplift and support our nation’s young people as they take control of their future and make the commitment to attend—and most importantly graduate—from a postsecondary institution. Mrs. Obama always says, “just getting into college isn’t the ultimate goal. You have got to stay focused once you get there, and you’ve got to get that degree or that certificate.”
For the 2017 event, dozens of celebrities including Nick Cannon, Questlove, Bella Hadid and more joined Mrs. Obama in New York.
We’re thrilled to announce that Dilia Samadova is the winner of our Free Community College Story competition. Your story inspired us deeply, Dilia — congratulations! Dilia will receive $2,000, which covers an average semester’s tuition at community college.
And our runners-up are:
If you have a free community college story to tell, we still want to hear from you! Please share your story with us here.
It’s On Us is one of the official non-profit partners of the new Netflix TV show 13 Reasons Why. The below this article from Entertainment Weekly about the show.
By SAMANTHA HIGHFILL, @SAMHIGHFILL
(Spoiler alert: This post contains details about the final episodes of 13 Reasons Why.)
When Katherine Langford took on the role of Hannah Baker in Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, she knew she would have to go to some dark places. After all, the show tells the story of Hannah Baker’s life, and more specifically, why she decided to commit suicide.
In the show’s 13-episode season, Hannah’s struggle grows, with each designated “reason” for her death only getting more intense. While the beginning of the show focuses on things like high school bullying and friendship gone wrong, the later episodes deal with things like death and rape. And for Langford, the final two episodes presented her with her greatest challenges. “The further you go along, the more involved you become with Hannah and the closer I felt to her. And also the acts that happen are increasingly harsh,” Langford tells EW. “Episodes 12 and 13 made me a little bit nervous because as a young adult playing a young adult, these issues are so relevant.”
The issues she’s speaking about in the final episodes are Hannah’s rape in episode 12 and her suicide in episode 13. “I just wanted them to be told right because I feel so many TV shows and movies that have shown these issues either romanticize them or they use them as a plot device. I wanted this story to be truthful,” Langford continues. “12 was difficult because I put a lot of research into it. I spoke to Rebecca Kaplan from It’s On Us and I spoke to a psychiatrist who deals with adolescent development and there was a lot of conversation about why things happen in the way they happen, things like why Hannah doesn’t say no.”
Langford adds: “There was a lot of discussion that went into that about how we were going to shoot it. When we did it, I felt super supported and absolutely comfortable on set, but it was very strange because that act makes me sick to my stomach. It’s so sickening and it’s uncomfortable and it’s ugly, but that’s also why we needed to show it.”
As for Hannah’s suicide, Langford says the acting wasn’t as difficult as the goodbye. “That final scene with Hannah in a bathtub, that was tough and that stuck with me because it was the last day that Hannah lived,” she says. “Playing her for six months, you develop a memory and a history for what she’s gone through and by that point, I felt very close to her and I felt like she was a person. The story is so personal that when it came to that scene, not so much the acting side of it, but more the having to let her go was really difficult.”
13 Reasons Why is available on Netflix now.
The entries are in and public voting has begun on our #FreeCommunityCollegeStory video competition and we need your help! We received some very creative and inspiring entries about breaking up with student debt, which are all posted on our Instagram page.
Anyone can help pick the winners by “liking” their favorite videos between now and Sunday at 11:59pm PT. Then, the top three vote recipients will move on to our celebrity judges before Dr. Biden announces the winner.
Click here to pick your favorite!
(Read the full article here)
Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative was born out of a conversation between two old friends during the government shutdown of 2013. Education Secretary Arne Duncan invited Mrs. Obama to his office to discuss how she could use her bully pulpit to support students. Secretary Duncan and Mrs. Obama knew each other from Chicago. They had mutual friends and shared similar experiences growing up there. And both knew first hand that education was key to their success—and that higher education in particular was the most powerful investment anyone could make. Secretary Duncan encouraged her to share her story with students, especially those who grew up in communities a lot like hers. She agreed, and after the shutdown ended, staff set about planning a visit for the two of them to the Columbia Heights Education Campus in Washington, DC, in November 2013.
Photo credit: Chuck Kennedy
Former First Lady Michelle Obama, hosts a roundtable discussion with students at Frank W. Ballou Senior High School in Washington, DC Feb. 27, 2017. Joining the students are Antwan Wilson, Chancellor, DC Public Schools and Cara Fuller, Principal, Ballou High School STAY
Over the course of a few years, Mrs. Obama and Reach Higher hosted events across the country encouraging students to own their futures by completing their education beyond high school, whether at a two-year school, a four-year university, or through an industry-recognized certification program. She moved the needle on FAFSA completion and recognized school counselors for the first time at the White House. She was building an influential legacy that would resonate with students long after she left 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But she knew it was not enough.
In February 2016, Mrs. Obama asked to visit small groups of students at schools in Washington, DC. She wanted to talk to kids in an “off-the-record” setting to get a sense of what they were feeling and to offer the advice she wished she had received as a high school senior. Most importantly, she wanted to impart to the students that if she could set her sights high and succeed, then any of them could do the same thing. She was no different than they, and she expected them to do great things.
She visited Paul Laurence Dunbar High School first, a school with a long, special history in Washington, DC, meeting with high school juniors and seniors who were surprised to see her walk into their school library. The students and teachers at the school were told that the school district’s chancellor was the guest of honor. Imagine their surprise when the first lady of the United States walked through the door.
After a round of hugs, Mrs. Obama joined the conversation, imparting knowledge about applying to college, navigating financial aid, taking tough classes, and even about the missteps she took as a college freshman. The students listened attentively, supported one another, and remained shocked that Michelle Obama was actually visiting them.
By the end of 2016, the First Lady had visited three schools and invited one class to meet her at the White House. She made it clear to her staff that her first priority as a former first lady and new full time resident of Washington, DC, was to continue meeting with students, her new neighbors.
Each visit has been unique. Some students want to know what it is like to live at the most famous address in our country. Others want to know what advice she would give to them about overcoming fears and doubts. All of them ask to take a picture, and Mrs. Obama always obliges.
She wanted to celebrate International Women’s Day with young women, so DC Chancellor Antwan Wilson arranged for her to meet with a group of students—some of whom had recently immigrated to the United States—at Cardozo Education Campus. They spoke for about an hour, starting with a discussion about their school, with one student sharing that Mrs. Obama had given her the courage to speak up in class and to start an anti-bullying campaign. The girls took Mrs. Obama’s advice about going to college and remaining true to their dreams. And, as always, she took a picture with the students.
To learn more about our movement, particularly our upcoming College Signing Day on May 5th, go to www.bettermakeroom.org. And follow us on Twitter at @ReachHigher and @BetterMakeRoom, and on Instagram at @ReachHigher2020 and @BetterMakeRoom.