First Lady Michelle Obama adds to memorable graduation season

What a great time of year. And what a great set of celebrations this weekend, with 13 separate graduation ceremonies in two days.

While all graduations are a cause of celebration, the one on everyone’s mind was, naturally, MLK’s. First Lady Michelle Obama’s visit was a smashing success, and her words of wisdom are applicable to all graduates. As if that weren’t enough. She gave every MLK graduate a diploma and a hug. How’s that for a moment you’ll never forget?

MLK’s ceremony was one for the ages, but it’s far from the only one in town. We want to see your graduation! Share your photos with us and we’ll celebrate your child on Children First. Call to action! Send us your happy memories!

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See and read the First Lady’s speech:

You all should be very proud of the great things that you have done in your lives so far. As a class, you have earned millions of dollars in college scholarships, and this fall you will be heading to schools all across this country — UT, Vanderbilt, Columbia, Duke, Colorado, so many more.

So I think it is fair to say that you all have certainly lived up to your class slogan: “Act like a Royal, but think like a boss.” Yes. Yes. (Applause.)

And today, you become the latest in a long line of success stories that started here at MLK. Every single student in this class — senior class has graduated. Every single one of you is going on to higher education or the military. So this school is truly the realization of the dream of educational empowerment for all, a dream that began 130 years ago, back when your Pearl building first opened its doors as a school for young African Americans.

And since that building became home to MLK, students from every background, every culture, every Zip Code throughout Nashville have walked through your halls each day to read and to write, and to think and to dream.

And I have to tell you, another reason why I wanted to come here is that all the things I’ve heard about this school, it is so familiar to me because I actually went to a school just like this one when I was your age. I grew up on the South Side of Chicago, and as I made my way through — yes, South Side. (Laughter and applause.) South Side. South Side — you can find them everywhere. (Laughter.)

But as I made my way through elementary school, because we didn’t have junior high, my number one goal was to go to a high school that would push me and challenge me. I wanted to go somewhere that would celebrate achievement; a place where academic success wouldn’t make me a target of teasing or bullying, but instead would be a badge of honor. And for me, Whitney Young Magnet High School was that place. And during my four years there, I made the most of all my experiences. I chose the classes that I thought would get me ahead. I signed up for every activity that I could fill up my applications with, and I focused my life around the singular goal of getting into the next school of my dreams, which was Princeton University. And I — (applause) — thank you.

But let me tell you, I still remember that time in my life so vividly, and you will, too. It seemed like every paper was life or death, every point on an exam was worth fighting for. Yes, a lot of head-shaking there, a lot of faculty. You’re sick of them lobbying you for some extra points, aren’t you? (Laughter.)

My whole identity was bound up in checking those boxes, winning every award I could. And I was good at it, too. (Laughter.) By the time I got to my high school graduation, I was at the top of my class, a member of the National Honor Society, student council treasurer, and my college dream had come true: I was heading to Princeton that fall. So I thought I had everything I needed to get ahead.

But graduates, I just want to share something with you that I learned. I learned that I had it all wrong.

Read her full remarks.

Posted on May 20, 2013, in District, News, Parents, Schools, Students and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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