Michelle Obama asks graduates to pay back

May 17th, 2009 - 5:35 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, May 17 (ANI): In her commencement address to the graduating students of University of California at Merced, America’s first lady Michelle Obama encouraged the students to serve their communities.

Recalling her personal journey from the South Side of Chicago to an Ivy League degree and then finally to the White House, Michelle Obama said students should continue to push for big things as they chart their lives in the future, but not forget their roots.

In her speech, Michelle Obama also mentioned the “Dear Michelle” campaign, which included a youtube video that the class of 2009 launched to convince her to address graduates there.

“[W]ith jobs scarce, many of you may be considering leaving town with your diploma in hand. And it wouldn’t be unreasonable. For those of you who come from communities facing similar economic hardships, you may also be wondering how you’ll build decent lives for yourselves if you choose to return to those communities,” she said.

“But I would encourage you to call upon the same hope and hard work that brought you to this day. Call upon that optimism and tenacity that built the University of California at Merced to invest in the future of Merced in your own hometowns all across this country,” she added.

Michelle also recalled her own youth growing up in the University of Chicago, and then becoming with her brother the first members of their immediate family to earn college degrees, and then joining the staff at the University of Chicago and opening up the doors to others from the city’s South Side.

She told the graduates that being first carries a special responsibility and that they should not forget the supportive community that helped them reach their goals.

“So, whenever you get ready to give up, think about all of these people and remember that you are blessed. Remember that you are blessed. Remember that in exchange for those blessings, you must give something back,” Michelle said.

Michelle’s next address to the high school graduates is scheduled next month at Washington Mathematics Science Technical High School, in Washington D.C. (ANI)

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