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Athletes, Artists, and Astronauts: Women Mentors at the White House

Summary: 
First Lady Michelle Obama visited Ballou High School in Washington, D.C. to speak with students and encourage them to work hard to get the most out of their opportunities for education.

As Women's History Month draws to a close, First Lady Michelle Obama brought a group of America's most accomplished women to D.C. to meet with area students. Among the attendees were WNBA star Lisa Leslie, former Olympians Michelle Kwan and Dominique Dawes, actresses Geena Davis and Hillary Swank, astronaut Ellen Ochoa, Air Force General Dana Born, and almost a dozen more leaders from the worlds of business and entertainment.

First Lady Speaks at Ballou High School

First Lady Michelle Obama shares her experiences with students at Ballou High School in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Obama encouraged them to encourage them to strive for excellence while pursuing their career goals. March 30, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

During the day, the First Lady paid a visit to Ballou High School in Washington, D.C., and spoke with a group of exceptional students. She reminded them that any dream is possible through a strong education and hard work:

Barack and I were not born with silver spoons in our mouths and connections and money and resources. A lot of why we’re where we are today is because we worked hard. We felt a deep passion for getting our education.  We were motivated not by making our friends proud of us, but by making our family proud of us. And with a lot of preparation, when the opportunities presented themselves, we were ready. And you all can do the same.

The First Lady also took questions from the students. One asked about the work the President and First Lady have done to prevent bullying in America's schools and communities. The First Lady talked about the importance of getting parents, teachers, and students to all work together:

I think it’s important that we have a national conversation.  But a lot of the work that needs to happen around the question of bullying needs to happen on the ground.  It’s got to happen with parents and principals and communities and with kids, all of you all, taking some responsibility for either stepping up or staying out of that fray.

Other mentors visited other schools in the D.C. area. The First Family hosted a reception and dinner for the mentors and 120 students in the East Room of the White House as well. You can read the full text of the First Lady's remarks at Ballou High School, as well as her answers to all the questions from students, on WhiteHouse.gov.

First Lady Gets A Hug

First Lady Michelle Obama gets a hug from a student during a visit to Ballou High School in Washington, D.C., March 30, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

First Lady With Women Mentors

First Lady Michelle Obama greets the group of 20 women mentors in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House. The women, all accomplished in a variety of fields, will serve as mentors and share their experiences with students in the Washington, D.C. metro area. March 30, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)