Michelle Obama urged high school students on Tuesday to increase the opportunities available to them by pursuing higher education as she kicked off an initiative that seeks to increase the number of low-income students graduating from college and signaled her plans to focus more on administration policy during the president’s second term.
Opening up to high school sophomores gathered in an auditorium at Bell Multicultural High School in Washington, Mrs. Obama spoke of her struggles as an underprivileged student in Chicago, taking a long bus ride across town to attend a better school and dreaming of the diploma from Princeton University that she eventually earned. ...
It was clear from her remarks that the initiative, which will take her to schools around the country, is a personal one. Answering students’ questions — along with Arne Duncan, the secretary of education — she referred to “kids like us” and recalled those who had discouraged her ambitions.
“Some of my teachers straight up told me that I was setting my sights too high,” Mrs. Obama said. “They told me I was never going to get into a school like Princeton. I still hear that doubt ringing in my head.”
She continued: “So it was clear to me that nobody was going to take my hand and lead me to where I needed to go. Instead it was going to be up to me to reach my goal. I would have to chart my own course.”