First Lady Michelle Obama delivered her final remarks as First Lady at the 2017 School Counselor of the Year event in the East Room of the White House. School Counselor of the Year is an annual White House tradition started in 2015 by Mrs. Obama.
As part of her Reach Higher initiative, Mrs. Obama has championed school counselors and encouraged post-secondary education for students across the country. Awardees from all 50 states are selected by the American School Counselor Association, based on criteria including: creative school counseling innovations, effective school counseling programs, leadership skills, and contributions to student enhancement.
Recognizing the efforts of school counselors is one of many ways in which the First Lady has worked to change the national conversation and make sure students have the guidance they deserve. Through her Reach Higher initiative and Better Make Room campaign, Mrs. Obama has teamed up with actors, singers, and sports icons to celebrate students and share tools and resources, such as the FAFSA, College Scorecard, and Up Next, with students.
America built a strong middle class over the past several generations through a commitment to keeping a high-quality education within reach of all who are willing to work for it. In keeping this promise alive, President Obama has made the largest investment in student aid since the G.I. Bill, and implemented reforms to ensure every student can earn a good-value college degree or credential. Today, many historically underserved students are enrolling in college for the first time; more students are graduating from college than ever; and new student loan defaults, delinquencies, and forbearances are on the decline.