ATLANTA — First lady Michelle Obama visited Atlanta high school students Monday and encouraged them to pursue a college education.
U.S. Education Secretary Arnie Duncan appeared with her to push the first lady’s “Reach Higher” initiative aimed to get more students to achieve some form of higher education.
Students and neighbors were looking forward to the first lady’s appearance at Booker T. Washington High School.
“It’s good. Be good to see her come through,” said 75-year-old Lucille Jarrells as she sat on her front stoop with her 1-year-old grandson, Robert, in her arms.
She looked across the street to the high school where the first lady would be speaking.
“It’ll mean a whole lot for the neighborhood to come through, even her to come through here. It’ll be a blessing,” said Jarrells.
Obama arrived to thunderous applause. She said she considered Monday’s events as a pep rally to try and get kids excited about pursuing a college degree.
“Your time in school is extremely important, and what you do here each and every day will set you up to achieve so many of the dreams I know you have for yourselves in the years ahead,” said Obama.
With the first ladies of Georgia and the city of Atlanta with her, she talked about the importance of earning a higher degree.
“Just completing high school is not the end but the beginning of your life’s journey. It’s just the beginning,” Obama said.
From her front porch, Jarrells never got to hear the first lady speak, but she agrees with her message.
“Thank her for coming. Thank her for doing a good job and be encouraged. Don’t give up,” said Jarrells.