Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Michelle Obama's second visit with students from Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School

Back in 2009, Michelle Obama visited Elizabeth Garrett Anderson secondary school. It was an emotional moment that created a lasting bond.



Apparently Michelle has kept in touch with the school and arranged a very special meeting today with some of the students at Oxford University.

Addressing the youngsters she said: "How are you doing? It's good to see you again."

The 37 girls were picked for today's event because they were interested in science but not reaching their full potential.

Their meeting with the US president's wife came after a day of activities for the pupils, including campus tours, career discussions and mentoring sessions.

The trip - arranged at Mrs Obama's suggestion - was designed to encourage the girls to think about studying for a degree.

Since visiting EGA in 2009, Mrs Obama has kept in touch with the school, writing letters and encouraging the girls in their studies.

To be honest, when I got to the part of that article where it said that the girls "were picked because they were interested in science but not reaching their full potential," I teared up. Of course not many girls get to meet the First Lady of the United States. But when it does happen, usually they are picked because they are the high achievers. For Michelle to arrange this kind of thing with the very girls where it could have the biggest impact moved me beyond words.

Here's some of what she said to them:

Look around. I mean, just look at this, a renowned university that has trained so many of the world's brightest minds and greatest leaders.

And I'm not the only one who's excited to see you all here today. Students and faculty at this university were eager to visit with you all, as well.

And there's a reason for that. It's because all of us – and it's important for you to know that – all of us believe that you belong here; that this is a place for you, as well. We passionately believe that you have the talent within you, you have the drive, you have the experience to succeed here at Oxford and at universities just like it across the country and across the world...

...all of us who brought you here today don't just think that universities have a lot to offer you. We believe that you all have a lot to offer these universities – your talent, your passion, your unique life experiences. And we very much want you to believe that's true, as well.

And I want you to know that you have everything you need to succeed at a place like this. You just have to work hard. That's it. You have to push yourselves. That's the only thing. This does not come easy for anyone. Everyone here, regardless of their background, got here because they worked hard. And you stay here because you work hard. But more importantly, you have to believe in yourself. You have to mentally believe that you can be here. You have to paint that picture for yourself.

And most of all, when you eventually get to a place like Oxford, I want every last one of you to reach back and to help others get here, too...

I look forward to seeing all of you fulfill whatever dreams you have, and I know they're big. So I want to see you all in the future, visiting me somewhere around the world, doing great things.

No wonder these girls love her...she believes in them with all her heart.

But enough with all the words, how about some pictures?

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One last thing...

Years ago I mentored a teenage girl for over 5 years (she's in her 30's now with 2 teenage sons and I still hear from her every now and then). One day when we were talking, she asked me what I look for in a man. I'll never forget it because it seemed like a critical moment. I think its something most young girls want to ask the women they trust. Here's how Michelle talked about that today.

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