Wayne State University’s Tom Adams Field was packed Wednesday morning to hear first lady’s speech on mentoring and the future of Detroit: the youth.
Obama pushed those in the audience, including more then 5,000 Detroit Public Schools students, to focus on their studies and make a difference in their lives. She used her life and that of her husband, President Barack Obama, as examples of how students can rise from modest upbringings to the highest office in the land.
Michelle Obama, wearing a hot pink, sleeveless dress, told students she was going to share a secret with them, the secret of success.
What was the secret?
“There is no secret,” she said. “It is your education. It is mastering math and science and learning how to write well … that’s what the difference is for so many people.”
The Highlights of Her Speech:
Previous to Michelle’s Speech, Hollywood director Spike Lee and basketball legend Magic Johnson along with a panel full of heavy hitters including former “American Idol” contestant Kimberly Locke. Several local officials joined forces with the first lady including Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Mayor Dave Bing, Congressman John Conyers and Denise Ilitch, whose family owns the Detroit Red Wings. The panel answered student questions and stressed the importance of being a mentor.
Michelle Obama was also accompanied by Michigan first gentleman Dan Mulhern, who actively promotes Mentor Michigan, which oversees more than 200 state mentoring programs, and Susan Cares, founder of the National CARES Mentoring Movement.
The White House said the event is “designed to engage, encourage and inspire.”
Michelle Obama is asking thousands of Detroit-area students to rise up and become the next great leaders of the city and the country.
Obama says she and her husband, President Barack Obama, believe in them and says she knows they “can do this.”
Obama called on everyone to help others, every race, creed, black, white, Asian, Arab-American. And “both sides of Eight Mile,” she said. This quote in particular was a huge hit with the Detroit crowd.
The Full Speech:
The first Lady also held a special lunch afterwards with Detroit students.
The Detroit trip is part of Obama’s mentoring outreach. In March 2009, during Women’s History Month, she focused on young women, and paired up female high school students in the Washington, D.C., area with female staff in the White House.
Last year, 28,536 Michigan children were helped by 19,578 mentors, according to a survey of 161 of the Mentor Michigan-supported groups.
There are 238 organizations in the Mentor Michigan Registry.
Such programs have been found to help disadvantaged youths do better in school, have higher self-esteem and not fall into criminal behavior.