In her final speech as First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama spoke about the values of hard work and a good education. With those tools, Obama said, "you might even become president." Obama made the speech at the 2017 School Counselor of the Year event at the White House, which she began last year.
"I hope I made you proud," Obama told the audience with a quiver in her voice. The speech was directed at young people watching. "Know that this country belongs to you, to all of you. If you or your parents are immigrants, you are part of a proud American tradition," she said, adding that diversity is not a "threat" to the nation, but rather, it defines the nation. "Don't ever let anyone make you feel like you don't matter, or like you don't have a place in our American story. You do."
"I want our young people to know that they matter, that they belong. So don't be afraid ... Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered. Empower yourself with a good education." Obama acknowledged education and higher education as necessary building blocks to success, achievement and – most importantly – sustaining hope. This message has been a hallmark message of the Obama administration, echoed in numerous speeches by the President and First Lady over the last eight years.
"When you are struggling and you start thinking about giving up I want you to remember ... the power of hope," Obama said evocatively. "The belief that something better is always possible if you're willing to work for it and fight for it."
President Obama's final speech will take place January 10th in Chicago. After the announcement was made last week, the president said the speech will be a "chance to say thank you for this amazing journey, to celebrate the ways you've changed this country for the better these past eight years, and to offer some thoughts on where we all go from here."