Politics

Michelle Obama Visits Public School In Washington

| by Michael Howard

Former first lady Michelle Obama paid a surprise visit to a high school in Washington, D.C., speaking with students and answering a series of questions, and reportedly putting to rest rumors that she has her own presidential ambitions.

Obama visited Ballou STAY High School on Feb. 28 and spent two hours with a class of 14 students, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"Once she came in, it was an inspirational feeling," 18-year-old Alliyah Williams said. "She was so sweet and warm. She was like a mom."

Ballou STAY Principal Cara Fuller said she was notified of the former first lady's visit an hour before she arrived. She chose not to tell the students, as she wanted them to be surprised.

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Many of the students at the school are underprivileged. Of the 14 that Obama met with, four have children, some live in shelters and a few had been expelled from other schools.

"I think she really just wanted a school and a group of students who are typically counted out to know that they themselves are amazing and wonderful and have the talents that they need to be successful," Fuller said.

The students asked Obama a number of questions, including whether she plans to run for president. She reportedly told them that she does not plan to run. They also asked her how she felt about President Donald Trump.

"They just asked what her thoughts were on the current president and they were deeply concerned about the rhetoric that has been going around," Fuller said.

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One student who has a 2-year-old son shared with Obama her goal of becoming an anesthesiologist.

"She told me not to let anything get in the way, and she said don't go back and help everyone until you get where you want to be," the student recalled.

Another student, 18-year-old Vonte Walker, said the experience gave him the ambition he had been lacking. He has since been talking about plans to attend college, according to Fuller.

"She motivated me," Walker said of Obama.

Following her visit, Obama sent out a tweet in which she thanked Ballou STAY for hosting her.

"Always love visiting DC schools. Thank you for hosting me today [Ballou STAY]. Stories of students #reachinghigher continue to inspire me," she wrote, referring to the "Reach Higher" initiative started by the White House to encourage young people to pursue higher education.

The Obamas, who still live in Washington, had made education one of their priorities during their tenure in the White House.

In a March 6 tweet, the former first lady commended Chance the Rapper, whose real name is Chancelor Bennett, after the music star announced his plans to donate $1 million to public schools in Chicago, Obama's home town.

"Thanks [Chance the Rapper] for giving back to the Chicago community, which gave us so much," Obama wrote. "You are an example of the power of arts education." 

Sources: Chicago Tribune, WJLA / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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