Michelle Obama, celebrities celebrate college signing day in Philly

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Former first lady Michelle Obama came out to a thunderous applause and deafening screams from students before she gave the keynote speech Wednesday for her fifth annual college signing day event at Temple's Liacouras Center.

Michelle Obama, former First Lady said, "You all are the stars. We decided, we needed to make going to college and getting an education as big a deal as getting a contract."

Mrs. Obama joined thousands of students for the annual event to celebrate their post-high school plans, whether it be a college, university, professional training program or the military.

About 8,000 students were in attendance.

But long before the show officially started the pre-party was well underway.

Hakiem Ellison of Cobbs Creek said, "I love it being here today. I'm excited,"

Soon the stars began filing in starting with Philly's own Questlove.

"It's important to send out a message that college is an important fork in the road for a lot of young people and I'm here to encourage them to get out of their comfort zone," said musician/producer Questlove.

Nick Cannon, rapper/actor/comedian is currently getting his masters at Howard University and rocked some gear from the HBCU.

He said, "I go to Howard though, I love Temple but I'm a Howard student."

Anthony Mackie, who recently starred in the Disney blockbuster Avengers 4, is a Julliard grad.

"Being a college graduate it's important because I know how much those four years have drastically impacted my future," said Mackie.

Actress Keke Palmer said, "It's important to start and finish something and allow yourself to see that you can finish out your goals."

Other stars like Ciara, Kelly Rowland, Modern Family's Jesse Tyler Furguson and Robert De Niro made appearances.
And the crowd went wild with a performance by Camila Cabello.

But it was Mrs. Obama's encouraging words that had the most powerful impact on these students many of whom, like her, are first generation college students.

"I went from the Southside of Chicago to Princeton University," said Mrs. Obama.

Kaitlin Howard of North Philadelphia said, "It spoke to me because a lot of us come from an urban community."

Daniella Rivera of Mount Airy said, "I feel excited and I can't wait to go to college."

In addition to Wednesday's events, more than 2,000 college signing day events have been planned in every state across the country.

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