With exactly two weeks to go until the 45th president is sworn into office, Michelle Obama delivered her final speech as first lady Friday morning, at times nearly choking up during what turned out to be an emotional farewell speech. “Being your first lady has been the greatest honor of my life and I hope I’ve made you proud,” she told the crowd gathered at the White House to honor the 2017 School Counselor of the Year, Terri Tchorzynski from Calhoun Area Career Center in Battle Creek, Michigan.
The event, which the first lady initiated two years ago, was primarily meant to pay tribute to many of the good people working in the education field around the country. In her remarks, Obama emphasized the need to celebrate the achievements not only of top athletes, movie stars and recording artists, but those that toil in virtual anonymity to educate America’s youth. Education has been one of the pillars of the first lady’s agenda over the las eight years. Obama, who has struck a wistful tone in recent interviews as her time in the White House is winding down, addressed young people directly, becoming emotional near the end of her speech.
“I want our young people to know that they matter, that they belong,” Obama said. “So don’t be afraid. You hear me, young people? Don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered. Empower yourself with a good education. Then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise. Lead by example with hope. Never fear.”
She also returned to the theme of hope, a topic she discussed with Oprah Winfrey in an interview last month. Watch her full speech below.
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