8 Lessons We Learned From Barack & Michelle Obama’s Commencement Speeches

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6. Education is for everybody. (First Lady Michelle)

“As my husband has said often, please stand up and reject the slander that says a black child with a book is trying to act white. Reject that,” she said. “In short, be an example of excellence for the next generation.”

7. People who are more educated live longer. (First Lady Michelle)

“Today, getting an education is as important if not more important than it was back when this university was founded. Just look at the statistics. [Applause] People who earn a bachelor’s degree or higher make nearly three times more money than high school dropouts, and they’re far less likely to be unemployed. A recent study even found that African American women with a college degree live an average of six and a half years longer than those without. And for men, it’s nearly 10 years longer. So yes, people who are more educated actually live longer.”

8. Be proactive. (First Lady Michelle)

“If the school in your neighborhood isn’t any good, don’t just accept it. Get in there, fix it. Talk to the parents. Talk to the teachers. Get business and community leaders involved as well, because we all have a stake in building schools worthy of our children’s promise.”

“And when it comes to your own kids, if you don’t like what they’re watching on TV, turn it off. [Applause] If you don’t like the video games they’re playing, take them away. [Applause] Take a stand against the media that elevates today’s celebrity gossip instead of the serious issues of our time. Take a stand against the culture that glorifies instant gratification instead of hard work and lasting success.”

Check out the full-length speeches below and weigh in on your favorite parts in the comment section.


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