This is historical material “frozen in time”. The website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work.

Search form

"The President of the United States of America believes in you."

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers heartfelt remarks at DC's Anacostia Senior High School Commencement Ceremony.
First Lady Michelle Obama during the Anacostia Senior High School commencement ceremony

First Lady Michelle Obama sits with class valedictorian Jordan Smiley during the Anacostia Senior High School commencement ceremony at the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitutional Hall in Washington, D.C. June 11, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

First Lady Michelle Obama delivered heartfelt remarks at the Anacostia Senior High School Commencement Ceremony, a school she's visited before with her mentoring activities. Mrs. Obama stressed that no matter what the students are doing next year, they must push themselves, take risks and seize every opportunity.

Her message to family members: offer support. It is only with support from family, teachers and mentors that Mrs. Obama, and the President, are where they are today:

I remember my mom pushing me and my brother to do things she’d never done herself; things she’d been afraid to do herself. What I can remember is my father getting up every day and going to work at the water filtration plant, even after he was diagnosed with MS, even after it got hard for him to button his shirt, and to get up and walk. See, I remember my parents sacrificing for us, pouring everything they had into us, being there for us, encouraging us to reach for a life they never knew.

And it’s because of them and because of the support I got from teachers and mentors that I am standing here today.

And if Barack were here, he’d say the same thing was true for him. He’d tell you it was hard at times growing up without a father. He’d tell you that his family didn’t have a lot of money. He’d tell you he made plenty of mistakes and wasn’t always the best student. But he’d also tell you he turned things around, thanks to his mother, his grandparents, and people who cared about him.

And listen, graduates, the reason that he and I invest so much of our time and energy in young people like you is because we see ourselves in each and every one of you.

We are living proof for you that with the right support, it doesn’t matter what circumstances you were born into, or how much money you have, or what color your skin is, if you’re committed -- if you are committed to doing what it takes, anything is possible. It’s up to you.

In closing, Mrs. Obama set some high expectations for the Class of 2010:

I believe in you. The President of the United States of America believes in you. (Applause.) When times are hard for us, you inspire us. You keep us going. And we are expecting big things from you in the years to come. Big things! We are counting on you to be the very best people that you can be. We’re expecting you to show the same perseverance, the same caring, the same spirit that made it possible for you to be here today.

We’re expecting you to show the same commitment to a better life that has always made this country great. We are expecting you not only to claim your own destiny, but to help others across Anacostia, across D.C., across America claim theirs. And we are confident that what you’ll do is exactly that. We know that you’ll make us proud –- because you already have.

Read the full remarks here.