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The First Lady's Travel Journal: Why I'm Passionate About Education

Mrs. Obama meets with group of educators, parents and students who care deeply about education in China.

Note: This post is part of a series authored by First Lady Michelle Obama to share her visit to China with young people in the U.S. You can read all of the First Lady's posts at


First Lady Michelle Obama at an Education Roundtable in Beijing

First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a roundtable discussion with educators, parents and students at the US Embassy in Beijing, China. March 23, 2014. (by Amanda Lucidon)

Today, I met with a group of educators, parents and students who care deeply about education in China. This is an issue of great importance to me as First Lady -- that's why I've been working to inspire young people in America to pursue their education beyond high school, whether that's at a two-year college, a four-year college, or through an apprenticeship or another kind of job training. 

I'm not just passionate about education in my role as First Lady -- this issue is also very personal for me. Growing up, my family didn't have much money, and my parents never attended college. However, like so many parents here in China who care so deeply about educating their kids, my parents were determined to send me and my brother to college. I studied as hard as I could, and with the help of scholarships and student loans, I was able to attend Princeton University and Harvard Law School. The degrees I got from those schools allowed me to get a job as a lawyer at a big law firm, and then as an executive at a hospital, and then as the director of a program that prepared young people for careers in public service.

My husband and I want every young person in America to have those kinds of opportunities, so we're working as hard as we can to ensure that all of you can get a good education -- that's our responsibility. Your responsibility as students is to show up every day at school, pay attention in class, and do all of your homework each night. I know that's not always easy, so don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it.  There are so many teachers, coaches, counselors and others out there who care deeply about you and want so much for you to succeed.

I know that you have so much potential and so much to offer, and I want you to know that so many people -- including me and my husband -- are working hard to make sure you can get an education worthy of your promise.