Friday, May 1, 2015

#ReachHigher


            As tradition, today’s halls at New Trier were crowded with seniors wearing t-shirts displaying where they would be attending college. It's no new practice to New Trier, however, Michelle Obama has declared May 1st as "College Signing Day" through the Reach Higher Initiative. Students all over the country have been posting pictures with the hashtag #ReachHigher on their social media accounts wearing their college gear. The White House website explains that "The Reach Higher initiative is the First Lady's effort to inspire every student in America to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school" because "in today's economy, a high school diploma just isn't enough". It is clear that the White House is directing the program towards students of less affluent neighborhoods and that #ReachHigher is being used to motivate students of these neighborhoods to pursue a higher education. However, the Reach Higher Initiative is said to be a national program. In this case, how would students from New Trier interpret #ReachHigher differently than other schools? Most students at New Trier are raised in affluent families and for them college is not a reach but instead an expectation. For this reason, students are looking to #ReachHigher than their classmates. I relate this to the story Mr. O'Connor told us in class today. When he walked up to a student to acknowledge the university they were going to, the student felt that he needed to justify his choice of school by explaining that he was going to the business school of that university, which is more difficult to get into. Mentalities like that make it feel like May 1st at New Trier is a competition to see who's going to a "better" school.

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