The Obamas may no longer be in the White House, but their leadership presence is still felt. Former first lady Michelle Obama delivered a poignant speech at the School Counselor of the Year ceremony at the Kennedy Center where she delved into the importance of educators in the midst of a heated political atmosphere, CNN reported.
The School Counselor of the Year celebration is a cooperative effort between the American School Counselor Association and Michelle Obama’s education initiative dubbed Reach Higher. It highlights educators throughout the nation who are dedicated to helping students achieve academic success, the news outlet writes. Her speech at the event, which took place on Friday, was her first major appearance since leaving the White House. She used her platform to bring attention to the impact that the ideologies promoted by those in office will have on our youth.
“I know there’s a lot of anxiety out there. And there’s no denying that our kids, what they see on TV, the kind of behavior being modeled in public life — all of that, yes — impacts their behavior and their character,” said Obama during her speech, according to CNN. “But at times like this the work you are all doing is even more urgent. It’s even more critically important. See, you all have the power to teach our kids what it means to go high when others go low. You have that power.” She stressed the importance of children seeing daily examples of individuals who display “decency and dignity and integrity.”
The former first lady will work to further her Reach Higher initiative and plans on continuing to work with the Kennedy Center to honor educators who are evoking change at a grassroots level. Prior to speaking at the School Counselor of the Year celebration, Obama appeared on The Ellen Show where she discussed everything from the current state of politics to the visibly awkward gift exchange between her and Melania Trump.