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The First Lady Celebrates the Class of 2015

As First Lady Michelle Obama delivers her final commencement address of the season at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Preparatory High School (King College Prep) in Chicago, IL, Eric Waldo looks back at the highlights from her 2015 graduation remarks.

Tonight the First Lady delivered her final commencement address of the season at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Preparatory High School (King College Prep) in Chicago, IL. In addition to this commencement, this spring Mrs. Obama celebrated the graduates at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, AL, and Oberlin College in Oberlin, OH as a way to shine a spotlight on students who have gone above and beyond to reach higher, and help others do the same.

Check out below for highlights of the First Lady’s 2015 commencements.

Tuskegee University – Tuskegee, Alabama

At Tuskegee University, Mrs. Obama spoke personally about her experience in college, on the campaign trail, and even as the first African-American First Lady.  She noted, however, that she has been able to overcome challenging situations by staying true to herself; she encouraged the graduates to do the same.

“Graduates, that’s what I want for all of you. I want you all to stay true to the most real, most sincere, most authentic parts of yourselves.”

Oberlin College – Oberlin, Ohio

As the winners of the Reach Higher Near-Peer Mentoring Challenge, the First Lady commended the students in Oberlin’s Ninde Scholars program for their one-on-one work with to help local high school students apply to, and ultimately excel through, college.  

She encouraged the graduates to utilize the talents, abilities, and skillsets they strengthened during their time at Oberlin to address the problems that are prevalent in our society.

"You see, in his speech to those Oberlin graduates 50 years ago, Dr. King urged them, as Julia said, not to sleep through the civil rights revolution that was raging across this country. And, graduates, climate change, economic inequality, human rights, criminal justice -– these are the revolutions of your time.

King College Prep – Chicago, Illinois

Speaking to the winners of the FAFSA Completion Challenge, the First Lady congratulated them on their creative submission, a King Prep-style “Scandal” episode that demonstrated their efforts to increase FAFSA completion among high school seniors. She acknowledged the great sacrifices and hard work that allowed the graduates to reach this day of achievement, reminding them how far they have come and how much further they will be able to go with the help of a college degree.

The First Lady reminded the graduates that they should persist through adversity and stand out as a shining examples to others of what is possible, regardless of their communities or the misconceptions of what those communities can produce.

“Because graduates, in the end, you all are the ones responsible for changing the narrative about our communities…. And with every word you speak…with every choice you make…and with the way you carry yourself each day…you can write a new story about our communities.”