Saturday, June 22, 2024

Michelle Obama Addresses Young People in Emotional Last Speech as First Lady (Watch)

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks during a ceremony honoring the 2017 School Counselor of the Year in the East Room of the White House January 6, 2017 in Washington, DC.
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks during a ceremony honoring the 2017 School Counselor of the Year in the East Room of the White House January 6, 2017 in Washington, DC.

*Emotions were high this afternoon as Michelle Obama addressed the nation’s young people in her final speech as first lady.

“Do not ever let anyone make you feel like you don’t matter, or like you don’t have a place in our American story, because you do,” FLOTUS said during a celebration of high school guidance counselors from around the country.

The annual event is part of the White House’s ongoing effort to encourage students to pursue higher education.

“Because let’s be honest,” said Obama. “If we’re always shining the spotlight on professional athletes or recording artists or Hollywood celebrities, if those are the only achievements we celebrate, then why would we ever think kids would see college as a priority.”

She said young people should not lose hope, even when they encounter the inevitable obstacles.

“It is our fundamental belief in the power of hope that has allowed us to rise above the voices of doubt and division, of anger and fear that we have faced in our own lives and the life of this country,” Obama said. “Our hope that if we work hard enough and believe in ourselves, we can be whatever we dream, regardless of the limitations that others may place on us.”

Mrs. Obama also encouraged young people to be focused and determined, not fearful.

“When people see us for who we truly are, maybe, just maybe they, too, will be inspired to rise to their best possible selves,” Obama said.

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks during a ceremony honoring the 2017 School Counselor of the Year in the East Room of the White House January 6, 2017 in Washington, DC.
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks during a ceremony honoring the 2017 School Counselor of the Year in the East Room of the White House January 6, 2017 in Washington, DC.

With her voice breaking, Obama recalled how her own father worked hard at a city water plant with the hope that one day his children would go to college and have opportunities he never dreamed of.

“That’s the kind of hope that every single one of us — politicians, parents, preachers, all of us — need to be providing for our young people,” Obama said. “Because that is what moves this country forward every single day. Our hope for the future and the hard work that hope inspires.”

“That’s my final message to young people as first lady,” she said as the audience in the White House East Room stood and applauded. “Lead by example with hope, never fear. And know that I will be with you, rooting for you and working to support you for the rest of my life.”

Watch Michelle Obama’s speech in its entirety below:

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