First Lady Michelle Obama, a graduate of Whitney Young High School, will meet with Chicago high school students visiting Howard University in Washington D.C. on Thursday, juniors and seniors who will take part in a program called “Escape to the Mecca, ” run by Howard’s Chicago Peoples Union and ”designed to immerse talented high school students in a college campus environment,” the White House said.
Background, from the White House: “The First Lady’s visit to Howard is part of her higher education initiative, in particular working to achieve the President’s “North Star” Goal, that by the year 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.
The First Lady will join the students on a campus tour followed by a roundtable discussion where the students will be joined by their hosts. In the discussion, the First Lady will hear how college tours and similar types of exposure can inspire students to reach higher in their education.
Background Information on “Escape to the Mecca “ from the White House
‘The Chicago Peoples Union (CPU) is an organization founded on the campus of Howard University in 1979, to increase fellowship among Illinois students; to expose Howard University students to Chicago culture; to serve as a liaison between prospective students from Illinois and Howard University; and to foster relationships with the surrounding community. The CPU’s “Escape to the Mecca” program caters to high school juniors and seniors interested in attending Howard University. Selected high school students from Illinois are able to experience college through a weekend-long visit to Howard – they stay with Howard University students from the Chicago area, attend classes, speak with Howard University officials, and interact with the Howard community.’