First Lady Gives Anacostia HS Commencement Speech

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    How well do you remember your  high school graduation?

    Probably not as well as the 2010 graduating class from Anacostia Senior High School in southeast Washington will remember theirs. First lady Michelle Obama delivered their commencement address Friday morning at the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall.

    A Graduation to Remember for Anacostia High

    [DC] A Graduation to Remember for Anacostia High
    First lady Michelle Obama delivered the commencement speech for Anacostia High, praising them on their achievements over the past year.

    She became emotional when talking about her parents' sacrifices for her and her brother, Craig Robinson.

    "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," the first lady said. "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."

    Michelle Obama's father, Fraser, is deceased. Her mother, Marian Robinson, lives at the White House with the first family.

    In her 25-minute address, Mrs. Obama told the graduates to keep the right friends, pursue higher education and travel.

    Student Nods Off During Obama's Commencement Address

    [DC] Student Nods Off During Obama's Commencement Address
    A teen is caught on camera nodding off behind President Barack Obama during his commencement address.

    "You don't have to be on a college campus to educate yourself," she said. "There are opportunities all over D.C. to enrich your lives and enrich your minds."

    And she told the graduates to congratulate themselves on this accomplishment.

    "You have to understand that there are a lot of people out there who believe in you. I believe in you. The president of the United States believes in you," she said."When times are hard for us, you inspire us. You keep us going. We are expecting big things from you in the years to come. Big things."

    The school struggled in the past, leading to its transfer to charter school operator status. More than 90 percent of the 164 students receiving diplomas today have been accepted into colleges. Valedictorian Jordan Smiley, who will attend Hampton University this fall, told the first lady that the student body looks to her family as examples of what it can achieve.

    "Today we are proof that change, whether good or bad, can be beneficial," he said. "We are writing history and we have the choice to determine what the future says about us."

    Friday was the second time the first lady addressed Anacostia students. She visited the school in March 2009 to mentor female students.

    It was her only speech for high school graduates in the District this year.  She addressed graduates of George Washington University in May.