Michelle Obama urged high school students on Tuesday to increase the opportunities available to them by pursuing higher education as she kicked off an initiative that seeks to increase the number of low-income students graduating from college and signaled her plans to focus more on administration policy during the president’s second term.
Opening up to high school sophomores gathered in an auditorium at Bell Multicultural High School in Washington, Mrs. Obama spoke of her struggles as an underprivileged student in Chicago, taking a long bus ride across town to attend a better school and dreaming of the diploma from Princeton University that she eventually earned. ...
It was clear from her remarks that the initiative, which will take her to schools around the country, is a personal one. Answering students’ questions — along with Arne Duncan, the secretary of education — she referred to “kids like us” and recalled those who had discouraged her ambitions.
“Some of my teachers straight up told me that I was setting my sights too high,” Mrs. Obama said. “They told me I was never going to get into a school like Princeton. I still hear that doubt ringing in my head.”
She continued: “So it was clear to me that nobody was going to take my hand and lead me to where I needed to go. Instead it was going to be up to me to reach my goal. I would have to chart my own course.”
This is all very fine as advice, but not entirely accurate as autobiography.
The First Lady's admission to Princeton wasn't entirely her own doing. Besides the usual affirmative action, she was also a Princeton legacy. In fact, her two-year-older brother Craig Robinson was already the Big Man on Campus, both metaphorically (he's always been popular, although he appears to be wearing out his welcome as Oregon State basketball's head coach) and literally (he's 6'6"). Her big brother was Ivy League basketball player of the year in her first two years on campus, and led Princeton to the 3rd round of the NCAA tournament in 1983.
And I presume her application wasn't hurt either by her being close friends with one of Jesse Jackson's daughters.
This latest speech continues a 35-year-old pattern of Michelle Robinson Obama being peeved that other people noticed that she only got into Whitney Young H.S., Princeton, Harvard Law School, and Sidley Austin because of pull, racial and personal.