On Thursday, First Lady Michelle Obama and First Lady Mariame Faye Sall of Senegal encouraged young girls to excel in education at the Martin Luther King Middle School in Dakar, after meeting for tea at the presidential palace.
Coming out to a jubilant applause, Mrs. Obama, Madame Sall, and Martin Luther King Principal Rouguy Ly Sall walked on to an elevated stage, where they were greeted by the school’s choir with the American and Senegalese national anthems.
Once the Majorettes dance troupe finished performing to drums in cherry printed dresses, Principal Sall addressed the students in French.
Watch the Majorrette’s dance here:
First Lady Sall would introduce Mrs. Obama to the the students in English, stating, “It is a great pleasure to have you [Mrs. Obama] here, and welcome.”
Mrs. Obama then took to the podium, explaining that the reason she chose Martin L. King Middle School was because of their accomplishments, “But most of all, I want to recognize all of you; the very students of this outstanding school. You are the reason why I wanted to be here today, because I am so impressed and so inspired by all of you. I am impressed by your academic achievements, by how hard you’re studying, and by how well you are doing on your exams. I’m inspired by your leadership skills, by how your running your student government, meeting with so many prominent leaders and preparing yourselves to becoming the next generation of leaders in your community.”
Using her background as a way to connect with her audience, Mrs. Obama acknowledged that both the students and their families are likely making significant sacrifices in order to stay in school, “But of course, I know that what you all are doing here isn’t always easy. I know that some of you may be the first in your families to attend a school like Martin Luther King, so there might be people at home who don’t quite understand what you’re going through as you work to succeed here. And I know that for some of you, just sitting in these classrooms each day requires great sacrifices by your families.”
Still, as the students read the First Lady’s translated remarks on their laps, Mrs. Obama made sure to explain that their decision to invest in education will have lasting effects beyond themselves: