PHILADELPHIA, PA (WTXF) - High school seniors from all across Philadelphia were cheered on as they arrived at the Wells Fargo Center to celebrate their accomplishments and the next chapter in their lives: college.
Ivy Kuang emigrated with her family from China eight years ago. She is eager to begin a new adventure at Drexel University in the fall as a Biological Sciences major.
"It's a pretty big achievement," Kuang told Fox 29. "I am the first in my immediate family to go to college."
Ali Abusiam of North East High is feeling very "Temple proud." He's also the first person in his family to ever go to college.
"I'm kind of taking it as a major step to inspire my brothers," Abusiam said.
Today's festivities included a parade of the many different colleges and universities these students will be attending come September.
Jawad Dabbour could not stop smiling about his future. He got into his first choice: Franklin and Marshall.
"It was honestly the greatest moment of my life to get into college," Dabbour said. "It was one of my greatest accomplishments so far."
School officials acknowledge the magnitude of the moment for these students.
"Students, be proud of what you accomplished. It's significant," Philadelphia School District Superintendent Dr. William Hite told the crowd. "In four years, [you're] gonna become the Class of 2021. That's what I'm talking about."
The highlight of the college signing day was a surprise performance by well-known rapper Wale, which brought the young crowd to its feet.
Eric Waldo, Executive Director of Michelle Obama's Reach Higher Initiative, had a tough act to follow, but congratulated the students on their success.
"We want to celebrate education the same way we celebrate going to the NBA finals, getting a rap deal, being on TV, being a celebrity, getting your education," Waldo said. "That's what we want to celebrate as a society."