Michelle Obama surprises, inspires students to ‘Reach Higher’

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Students from Irma Rangel Women’s Leadership School were on a panel discussing First Lady Michelle Obama’s new memoir when they got a surprise of the lifetime.

Obama walked out from behind the curtain during their discussion, much to the shock of the students at the Winspear Opera House who had no idea she was there. More than a few happy tears followed.

Obama was in town to discuss her new book Becoming later that night during a sold-out presentation at American Airlines Center (AAC). Thanks to various partners and ticket donations from Obama’s office, more than 100 Dallas ISD students got to hear her speak at the AAC.

Photo courtesy Amanda Harris of amandalynn.co for Educate Texas at Communities Foundation of Texas

Meanwhile, the Dallas ISD Extended Learning Opportunities Department in partnership with Educate Texas/Texas College Access Network gave 100 tickets, which were provided by the Office of Michelle Obama, to high school students. Prior to the speech, the students gathered at Communities Foundation of Texas and were surprised with free copies of Becoming from Half Price Books. The students also made posters showing their appreciation of Obama and talked about what she means to them.

“This experience gives me hope for my future. It encourages me to do better in anything I’m doing in school,” said Julia, a student at Madison High School. “It gives us the courage to push forward, no matter what our background is. No matter where we come from, anything is possible.”

Meanwhile, 20 students from 11 Dallas High Schools heard Obama speak at the AAC thanks to donated tickets from the College Board. The Dallas ISD Advanced Academic Services and Racial Equity Office selected the students, who came from all races and parts of the city, to attend.

“Our goal in the Racial Equity Office is to assist and support the district as we provide additional and differential resources to support our students,” Racial Equity Office Deputy Chief Leslie Williams said. “This was an opportunity for a very diverse group of students to see and hear from a powerful leader and learn more about the African-American culture.”

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