Students Host First Lady for HCC Tour
By Brittany Lang, Intern
Local high school seniors and Howard Community College (HCC) students hosted First Lady Michelle Obama for a tour of HCC’s Health Sciences Building on Sept. 17. Obama was visiting to promote her Reach Higher initiative, a program that informs young adults who are planning to start a career after high school or go on to further education as a college student about opportunities that are available to them.
The HCC students demonstrated how the college’s programs are preparing them for their future careers, and the high schoolers learned the kinds of resources HCC can provide.
Deep Biswas, a senior from Oakland Mills High School (OMHS), attended the tour with the First Lady. “One of the things that was demonstrated by an HCC student was an angiogram/cardiac catheterization model. This simulation replicated a real-life model to a great extent, and I had no idea HCC had such facilities,” Biswas explained.
Obama is trying to support and encourage students to “take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a four-year college or university,” according to The White House’s web page on the program. She feels that students have to “reach higher,” hence, the reason for the program’s name.
Throughout the tour, and later during a panel discussion, Obama advocated for the expansion of education past high school and highly recommended community college as an affordable path. Along with her passion for education, her daughter is currently in the college application process, giving her even more insight into the situation that these students are currently facing.
According to the students on the tour, Obama’s message was successful. “Michelle Obama’s trip to HCC was an eye-opener to me as well as several others. Not only did it inform me about the various scholarship opportunities and programs offered to high school seniors, but it also encouraged me to seek out scholarships and special programs for myself at the schools I will be applying to in the winter,” said Biswas.
While Obama may not be applying to college herself, her daughter’s efforts are making her all ears to suggestions or feedback from other students that may help her own child. Another senior from OMHS, Sydney Roberson, accompanied Obama on the tour. “She seemed very interested in us. It felt great. She was very quiet when the students were speaking. She seemed like she was applying to school, too,” Roberson joked.