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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Michelle Obama urges Annandale HS students to commit to your passions

First Lady Michelle Obama looks on as Republic of Korea
First Lady Kim Yoon-ok speaks at Annandale High School
First Lady Michelle Obama urged students to find something you’re passionate about and commit to it at a visit to Annandale High School today with Republic of Korea First Lady Kim Yoon-Ok.

Ms.Yoon-Ok and President Lee Myung-bak are in Washington for a State Visit with President Obama and are the guests of honor at a State Dinner at the White House this evening.

The event included performances by the World Children’s Choir, world renowned violinist Jennifer Koh, and students who played traditional Korean instruments and performed an Ethiopian dance.

The United States and Korea have much in common, including “the value we place on education,” Michelle Obama told the audience in the Annandale gym, which included International Baccalaureat Diploma candidates, other AHS students, local leaders, and members of Annandale’s Korean community.

“I want you to discover something you love to do,” Obama said, work hard at it, and “be the best you can be.” Your parents and teachers will push you but that’s because they want the best for you and “because we’ve seen how investing in a passion can pay off,” she said.

Those lessons hold true no matter how much money you have, how you look, or where you’re from, she said. Neither Barack Obama nor Lee Myung-bak started out at the top but they worked hard and achieved success, she said, noting that the Korean president “grew up in very difficult circumstances” and even “took a job as a garbage collector to pay for his college tuition.”

Whenever see seen anyone pursuing a dream, whether it is President Obama or Jennifer Koh, “you’ll see passion, persistence, and most importantly, hard work,” she said.

“My greatest wish for each of you is to take your education seriously,” Obama told the AHS students. Try something new, and whether it’s the student newspaper, the drama club, or something else, “push yourself to commit to your own success.

In a reference to the fact the Annandale High School has students from some 90 countries, Obama said, “there is so much diversity here and so many opportunities. This is the perfect place to discover who you are and what you want to become. And this is what education is all about.”

Yoon-ok told the students that facing life after completing school might “make you feel afraid and anxious.” But noting that the presidents of the United States and Korea overcame hardships and adversities, “hope is still there even when you can only see despair,” she said. “A positive mind and courage are the greatest assets to guide your life.”

Jennifer Koh was born in Illinois. Her mother
had escaped from North Korea.
Members of the World Children's Choir are from
many countries. They sing about friendship and peace.
Students perform a traditional dance from Ethiopa.

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