Mrs. Obama makes good on a promise

May 17, 2010

michele_gw2“Well, I am a woman of my word,” first lady Michelle Obama said Sunday, making good on a promise as  she spoke at the  George Washington University graduation ceremony.

In September,  Obama issued a challenge to the GWU class of 2010 – promising that if students performed 100,000 hours of community service during the school year, she would speak at their commencement ceremony.

Students at the university a few blocks from the White House more than met the challenge and Obama kept her word.

The Washington Post said that “by the time the first lady took the stage, the count was up to 163,980 hours of service.”

“I will say that if I had known that you’d complete more than 3,300 hours on the first day of the challenge I’d probably have picked a higher number,” Obama said during the ceremony on the National Mall.

She applauded the students who held up their end of the bargain  in many ways — from holding food drives, to visiting with elderly veterans  and even running their own medical center in an under-served neighborhood on the other side of town.

Students kept a running tally of their community service hours in letters apprising her of their progress, Obama said.

“Dear Mrs. Obama, we’re at 19,000 hours.  Dear Mrs. Obama, we’re at 46,000 hours.  Dear Mrs. Obama, we’ve at 73,958 hours.  Yes, I got every minute of detail,”  she said “And soon enough, I realized, ‘Uh-oh, I better start working on that commencement speech.’ ”

Obama issued another challenge in her remarks, this time asking the graduates to “Keep going; Keep giving; Keep engaging” and to be America’s face to the world.

“I’m just asking you to keep being you, to keep doing what you’re doing.  Just take it global.”

Photo Credit REUTERS/Richard Clement (First lady Michelle Obama speaks at George Washington University commencement ceremony 5/16/2010)

No comments so far

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see