If you live in Washington D.C. and are a student at a disadvantaged school in the area, you just might have spotted Lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday. In honor of International Women’s Day, Mrs. Obama and a number of other powerful US women went to six local high schools in the D.C. area to inspire.
Hilary Swank Inspires
Actress Hilary Swank, as part of Lady Obama’s group, recounted that she grew up in a trailer park before becoming a two-time Academy Award winner. She explained to three dozen African American high school students that, “Success is you following your dreams.”
Lady Obama Mentors
Obama, who grew up in Chicago’s South Side, told students at the inner-city Ballou High School that “Barack and I were not born with silver spoons in our mouths and connections and money and resources.” At Eastern High School in northeastern Washington, D.C. Hilary Swank shared the limelight with Olympic Gold medalist and former WNBA professional basketball player Lisa Leslie, Grammy Award winning violinist Miri Ben-Ari and comedian Anna Deveare Smith. Israeli-born Ben-Ari who is a pioneer with her violin and hip-hop said, “Set your mind on something. Don’t expect magic, it probably won’t happen.”
Other Women Lead the Way
Mrs. Obama had a number of other famous and inspirational women along as well. These included: award-winning US figure skater Michelle Kwan, ex-astronaut and engineer Ellen Ochoa, Brigadier General Dana Born — dean of the faculty at the US Air Force Academy — former US ambassador to Hungary Nancy Brinker and A&E Television Networks president and CEO Abbe Raven.The successful day of mentoring ended with a dinner event in the White House East Room for the guest mentors and for 120 students.