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AHS Alum Obama comment response

Ryan Liu, an Arcadia High School Class of 2013 alumni and Pasadena City College Class of 2015 Valedictorian, has recently been making headlines with President Obama’s Senior White House staffers for his community college advocacy.


AHS 2015 Valedictorian Emily Zheng is heading to Pomona College this month.

Liu is a political science major and first-generation college student who will be continuing his studies at Yale University this fall. He recently urged President Obama to renew his commitment to community colleges in his valedictorian address and in a follow-up piece on Buzzfeed. He was later contacted back by the Executive Director of the First Lady’s Reach Higher Initiative, who then continued to put him in contact with other Senior White House Staffers.

“Community college not only provided me the opportunity to continue my education while financially assisting my family, but it also bestowed upon me the unique prospect of learning from classmates that have overcome unimaginable circumstances in the face of adversity to pursue what should be a natural right: the right to an accessible education,” recounts Liu about his community college experience.

Ryan Liu Speech

Ryan Liu

“All of this wouldn’t have been possible without PCC. In the fall, when I’ll be attending Yale University, I’ll have in mind what made this opportunity to get an education possible for me and for so many other students: community colleges,” states Liu. “I hope that we can find the political will to continue supporting these wonderful institutions that pride themselves not in selectivity, but in accessibility for all.”

Congratulations and best of luck, Ryan!

— By Emily Zheng

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