Michelle Obama’s speech at the innocuous 2017 School Counsellor of the Year event, was a thought evoking, tear jerking parting gift, if you will, to the nation, “being your first lady has been the greatest honor of my life and I hope I’ve made you proud,” she said, which one felt came from deep within her heart.
The ceremony, where she laid bare her emotions and thoughts, was initiated by Michelle Obama herself in 2015 to honour high school counsellors who have made a contribution by their leadership skills. It’s evidence of her interest in and dedication toward higher education.
Among her major contributions in the eight years as the 44th first lady of the United States, she has championed important and noble causes like education, fitness and military families speaking out on her favourite subjects from the East Room and sometimes from the South Lawn.
Directed at the young generation of America she said, “This country belongs to you — to all of you, from every background and walk of life.” Her focus was on immigrants, children from underprivileged families irrespective of their religious backgrounds. “Our glorious diversity, our diversities of faiths and colors and creeds, that is not a threat to who we are,” she said. “It makes us who we are.”
Her speech mainly addressed the importance of education and the altruistic contributions of school counsellors.
It seemed her final message as the outgoing first lady laid special emphasis on the value and virtues of diversity. Without mentioning the President-elect’s name in the entire duration of her speech it was a direct, but implicit at the same time, contrast to Trump’s values and rhetoric.
“Do not let anyone make you feel like you don’t matter, or you don’t have a place in our American story,” the First Lady of America said. “Because you do, and you have a right to be exactly who you are.”
“But I also want to be very clear: This right isn’t just handed to you. This right has to be earned every single day. You cannot take your freedoms for granted. Just like generations who have come before you, you have to do your part to preserve and protect those freedoms — and that starts right now when you’re young.”
She was finding it difficult to control her emotions when she tearfully said to the young people of America, “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.”
Among adversities and criticisms, which come with the position one would guess, her impactful stay at the White House has been as dignified and praiseworthy as her speech at the 2017 School Counsellor of the Year event.
Good-Bye, Michelle! You will certainly be missed!