First lady Michelle Obama is leaving her mark on graduation season, making her way around the country to deliver heartfelt speeches to young graduates.
On Tuesday, June 9, the Flotus spoke at King College Prep High School on Chicago’s South Side. According to the Chicago Tribune, all of King College Prep’s 177 graduates have been accepted into college. Mrs. Obama reflected back to her childhood on Chicago’s South Side.
“I know the struggles many of you face–how you walk the long way home to avoid the gangs,” she told the students. “How you fight to concentrate on your schoolwork when there’s too much noise at home. How you keep it together when your family’s having a hard time making ends meet. But more importantly, I know the strength of this community.”
While there, she also honored Hadiya Pendleton, a student of King College Prep, who was shot and killed two years ago at the age of 15.
“I want you to understand that every scar that you have is a reminder, not just that you got hurt, but that you survived,” Obama said during the speech, adding, “If Hadiya’s friends and family could survive their heartbreak and pain, if they could found organizations to honor her unfulfilled dreams, if they could inspire folks across this country to wear orange to protest gun violence, then I know you all can live your life with the same determination and joy that Hadiya lived her life. I know you all can dig deep and keep on fighting to fulfill your own dreams.”
The first lady closed with words of encouragement and support for the Chicago community, telling them that they are her inspiration and that she is proud of them.
“You embody all of the courage and love, all of the hunger and hope that have always defined these communities — our communities,” Obama said at the conclusion of her speech. “And I am so proud of you all. And I stay inspired because of you. And I can’t wait to see everything you all achieve in the years ahead.”