The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


The First Lady

Michelle Obama and Famous Friends to Visit DC Schools

By DeNeen L. Brown
In another star-packed, White House-coordinated event, first lady Michelle Obama and a line-up of A-list stars -- including Alicia Keyes, Sheryl Crow, Debbie Allen and Alfre Woodard -- plan to fan out to Washington-area schools on Thursday, where they will speak with students about setting career goals and reaching their dreams.

The events are part of the first lady's celebration of Women's History Month.

Obama will go to Anacostia High School in Southeast Washington for "a roundtable discussion with students," while bevy of actresses, musicians and military women stop by schools in other parts of D.C., Montgomery County and Virginia.

Singer Alicia Keyes will speak at Dunbar high school along with Gen. Ann Dunwoody, who broke the "brass ceiling," as the first woman ever to attain the rank of four-star general in the U.S. military.

Singer Sheryl Crow and Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to travel into space, will speak at Woodrow Wilson high school in D.C.

Famed choreographer Debbie Allen will go to Bell Multicultural High School in the District where she and Maggie Daley, the wife of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, will speak with students. WNBA Star Lisa Leslie Lockwood and cosmetics company founder Bobbi Brown will go to Coolidge high school in D.C.

Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes and actress Phylicia Rashad will go to Holy Cross, an all-girls school in Maryland. Debra Lee and Marissa Mayer will go to Washington Math and Science Tech high school in D.C.

Billionaire Obama fundraiser Penny Pritzker and actress Kerry Washington, best known for her role as wife of Ray Charles in the film, "Ray," will be at Bethesda-Chevy Chase high school in Maryland.

Oscar nominated-actress Alfre Woodard and Nancy Brinker, who was ambassador to Hungary, will attend Albert Einstein high school in Maryland. Opera star Denyce Graves, actress Fran Drescher and Sarah Jones will go to Mount Vernon High School in Virginia. And Karyn Kerr Pettigrew, Tracee Ellis Ross will go to Washington-Lee High School in Arlington.

"These events are an extension of the Obama administration's commitment to engage with the D.C. community and open the White House for arts, culture and educational purposes," the first lady's office said.

The celebrities plan to return for an evening dinner at the White House, to which more students from other D.C. area schools have been invited.

Posted at 5:13 PM ET on Mar 18, 2009  | Category:  The First Lady
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

It should be pretty obvious that Sasquatch is not having her children in these schools.

Maybe they are not racist enough and would cause the children to question why their pastor hates white people and America so much.

Posted by: VirginiaConservative | March 19, 2009 5:10 PM

Michelle Obama realizes that 'getting an education' is key to any progress these students will make.

I think her strategy is 'right' given what the reports are about the educational system in D.C. The talks scheduled with these students/celebrities, does represent a drop in the bucket; but every little bit helps... irrespective of the source.

Michelle often says she is from the Southside of Chicago.. she's grounded, and have a sense of what works. Just hope that in time, she will widen the circle to include schools in other urban areas around the country.

Posted by: Victoria5 | March 19, 2009 3:37 PM


Sorry if I didn't state my point correctly. I'm going to borrow this comment from someone on the NYTimes blog that gets to exactly what I was saying, but was just more eloquent and less offensive perhaps than my comment turned out to be, though I didn't intend it to.

"This seems a terrific idea and program but shouldn’t there have also been a greater number of people from some of the more academic professions as well? It would have been nice to see people inspired to be scientists, economists, historians, mathematicians, professors, etc. Again it is a excellent thing to have done but they seem to have chosen a lot of actresses, singers and make-up artists. It seems odd that they tell the girls not to care about people calling them swots or geeks while reaching for their goals whilst at the same time only presenting them with examples of successful women in professions hyped or sexed up by the media." -R

You may disagree, but while I of course support this effort, I do feel I have a legitimate concern.

Posted by: caramel2 | March 19, 2009 3:33 PM

caramel2 I have not problem with these ladies visiting the schools. What can an athelete tell them that these ladies can't? How to be a baby daddy? Give me a break. Stope judging these ladies lifestyles. You don't know them. You know only what you have seen on the TV or in the movies. I agree with carolinagirl2!!

As for LoveDianne72, I have to agree with Reader 31... Your catty comments certainly tell your story!

Posted by: OHREALLYNOW | March 19, 2009 3:00 PM

If you support these core initiatives:

-Effective, empowered teachers and school leaders;
-Student assessments that stress 21st century skills;
-Universal access to high-quality early education;
-A safe, healthy learning environment; and
-Affordable college for all students,

Then let President Obama know! Visit EDVOTERS.ORG and sign the petition today!

Posted by: dangiaco | March 19, 2009 2:21 PM

Carmel2 says:

>>Athletes are great, as are generals and business women, but the singers and the actresses should not have been included, especially if they don't personify a wholesome lifestyle. >>

Wait. You're kidding right? Athletes represent a wholesome lifestyle? OJ, Michael Vick, Dennis Rodman, Ray Carruth. Last time I checked, they were athletes.

After seeing the greed and corruption on Wall Street and in board rooms, the notion that business people automatically represent a "wholesome lifestyle" is beyond absurd.

Stop generalizing and take that stick out of your behind. A profession does not determine a person's values. If you were really a fan of Michelle Obama's you'd know that!

Posted by: carolinagirl2 | March 19, 2009 10:56 AM

Why do the haters assume Michelle Obama went to ivy league schools because of affirmative action without a shred of evidence to support that? I know: because she's black!

According to you haters, NO black person is smart enough to get into an ivy league school.

Newsflash: White people have their own version of affirmative action: legacies, papa donates tons of money to the university, being family friends of the admissions director.

That's why legacy student and cheerleader Dubya got into Yale!

Posted by: carolinagirl2 | March 19, 2009 10:51 AM

You know, I love the First lady and truly support the efforts she has been doing, but I don't like the addition of celebrities into this mix.

Having women role models come to schools is great, but celebrities and actresses are not the sorts of role models to bring to these kids. They don't represent wholesome America and the example of their lifestyles bring sensationalism rather than realism to these children. It's not something worth aspiring to.

Athletes are great, as are generals and business women, but the singers and the actresses should not have been included, especially if they don't personify a wholesome lifestyle.

I would prefer if the White House stopped their infatuation and flaunting of celebrities and Hollywood. It's not mainstream America and it never should be.

Posted by: caramel2 | March 19, 2009 10:48 AM

Hmmmmm....encouraging DC kids in public school while her children attend the elite Sidwell Friends school. "...where they will speak with students about setting career goals and reaching their dreams."
Mrs. Obama's kids will have advantages DC kids have never even dreamed of....Seems a little disingenuous to me.

Posted by: nosurprise2me | March 19, 2009 10:38 AM

I can't really predict how effective this effort will prove to be, but I do have a comment on the whole affirmative action string. George W. Bush is an affirmative action student; he was admitted to Yale as a legacy entrant. I don't hear many people making that an issue. However, I am familiar with Dianne72 (the name keeps changing. WPost must have it out for her.) Her racist comments are to be expected. I too have to learn to ignore her comments on affirmative action, black women breeding like roaches, Sasquatch, wide- hipped black women, Michelle Shaniqua Obama, kente cloth curtains in the White House... I just have to ignore the ignorance and recognize that I have no choice but to share the planet with such people as Dianne72. I know God put her here for a good reason, if only to give the rest of us a reminder of what can happen to the human soul when one succumbs to the power of sin.

Posted by: forgetthis | March 19, 2009 9:27 AM

I sincerely hope that Mrs Obama and the others will also take this opportunity to talk about the current HIV/AIDS epidemic in the District and urge the students it is everyone's duty to act as responsible adults if they are having sexual relations.

Posted by: johnklenert | March 19, 2009 8:01 AM

To LoveDianne72, now I get it...this has nothing to do with affirmative action or Michelle Obama's looks or Jackie are clearly jealous of Michelle's good education and style. Your catty comments certainly tell your story!

Posted by: Reader31 | March 19, 2009 7:24 AM

Michelle how about you an your friends supporting Vouchers for all those children who can't afford to send their children to private schools, that would really be doing something real for the kids instead of a "MEDIA" event.

VJ Machiavelli

Posted by: VJMachiavelli1 | March 19, 2009 2:05 AM

What a great thing for our first lady to do! I am so proud of her efforts. Kids need to see positive role models like those who will spread out across the D.C. community Thursday. I can't imagine Bush/Cheney displaying such an interest in the D.C. schools ( or the children). I remember Bush's "No child Left Behind", but it faild because it was NOT funded. This is so important. I was taught that only what you do for Christ will last.....this will leave a lasting impression with these children.

Posted by: dee55deet | March 18, 2009 11:32 PM

To the person who wrote that Michelle Obama is no Jackie Kennedy.

What made Jackie Kennedy so special or better than everyone else? The media and image of the Kennedys as royalty.

Although I am quite sure Jackie Kennedy was a nice person, she didn't accomplish anything great other than marrying a Kennedy. With their past, I am not sure that was a great accomplishment.

You are right. Michelle Obama is not Jackie Kennedy. She doesn't have to be.

She is creating her own legacy. A legacy that began before she got married. Her legacy is not contingent upon marrying into the 'right' family.

Posted by: abootstrapper | March 18, 2009 10:03 PM

This is all good, but I bet the schools would rather have J Q cash instead of their visits.

Posted by: gladiatorgal | March 18, 2009 9:46 PM

I think Michele Obama appeals to the lowest common denominator. She is just average and I am amused when people try to compare her to Jackie Kennedy. Believe me when I say this, she is no Jackie Kennedy. Her official photo in the Blue Room was heavily airbrushed and her drooping left eye is miraculously open. Photoshop is her best friend!

Posted by: LoveDianne72 | March 18, 2009 9:13 PM

Notice that the Post allows comments on stories that are favorable to Obama like this one. Yet on stories that are embarassing like the one about his computer man shoplifting $134 worth of shirts the comment section is locked.

Another example of bias by the Post

Posted by: MKadyman | March 18, 2009 9:02 PM

I think it is quite lovely that Michelle and many other successful women are spending the day at schools all across Washington DC. From public to private. Young women need to know they can reach whatever goals they want.

As for the affirmative action comments not quite sure what it has to do with tomorrow's events but if you are going to be upset that she got into Princeton because of it. You should be even more upset that George Bush went to Yale because if his Father was someone else he would not have gotten in.

Posted by: lvbrooks | March 18, 2009 8:54 PM

"Hello children. Maybe someday, when you grow up, you'll be able to send your children to a nice private school like my Sasha and Malia go to, rather than this dirty, violent, asbestos-ridden rathole."

Posted by: Emma3 | March 18, 2009 8:54 PM

I hope that some of the young ladies the First Lady meets on Thursday will ask her why her husband has been silent since his election on DC voting rights in Congress.

If as Commander in Chief her husband can send our young men and women from DC to fight and die for "democracy" in Iraq and Afghanistan, then why is her husband silent of the lack of democracy for DC residents.

Posted by: NewEra | March 18, 2009 8:25 PM

Good for First Lady Obama and her friends. For centuries the biggest affirmative action card used was the "white card" which allowed white folks to have the wealth of the land simply because they are white and last time I looked they are still using that card today but always complain when someone else get a piece of the pie just plain greedy that is why this country is in such a mess.

Posted by: kewlair | March 18, 2009 8:18 PM

If she's concerned about children she could convince her husband to stop his air forces from killing them in Pakistan and Afghanistan as they sleep, making more terrorists in the process and spending our blood and treasure on a quagmire.

Posted by: georgejones5 | March 18, 2009 8:09 PM

Why are celebrities bothering to visit Bethesda Chevy-Case and Holy Cross high school? BCC is a high-achieving public high school located in one of the most affluent community one the nation. Holy Cross is a private college prep school with a tuition of $16,000/year. The majority of students in both schools will be going on to college.

Those two visits are unnecessary, considering the fact that there are students in DC public schools who need that support and encouragement. Please reconsider people's real needs.

Posted by: x0x0luckie | March 18, 2009 7:58 PM

Some of the people who posted on here are real asssholes.

I think it's a wonderful program - good for her. Young girls look up to people who are well known. I doubt Sheryl Crow will tell them they can be like her. She'll most likely encourage them to excel at whatever it is they are best at and to pursue their dreams. JaysusMaryandJoseph, that is what good parenting is about and should be done in your home.

Posted by: itsagreatday1 | March 18, 2009 7:56 PM

ACORN Barry's angry racist wife would have you believe she is the first to do such things. As she suggested in your photo op PR stunt with the troops. She is, as is her bo, propped up by a fawning media giving make believe personalities of these in the White House that do disdain America.

Posted by: ChangeWhat | March 18, 2009 7:52 PM

I detect a little bit of Jealousy. Please don't be jealous, Be thankful for Michelle and her celebrity friends. They are trying to be involve with the community.
And what does Affirmative Action have to do
with this conversaton. The First Lady have a right to send her children to the school
of their choice. The school that they attend is very Diverse. Some people love to complain.

Posted by: maymhwmariah | March 18, 2009 7:47 PM

The best role model for the students is Michelle Rhee, who is their only hope of getting a good education. They are not all going to be movie stars, or WNBA stars, and none of them is going to inherit a biilion dollars and become a "fund raiser."

Posted by: fredjackson1 | March 18, 2009 7:43 PM

Is she going extol the benefits of her affirmative action education?

Posted by: LoveDianne72 | March 18, 2009 5:25 PM


You're the one who's culpable for believing your high school teachers when they "learned" you that the South won the Civil War jack a**.

Posted by: htruman | March 18, 2009 7:39 PM

TO: MRS. OBAMA (staff, please forward)

Mrs. Obama: When Rev. Wright cautioned against America becoming a "U.S. of KKK-A," perhaps he was diagnosing this cancer on the body politic...






* Silent, covert microwave radiation weapons (D.E.W.) assaults on innocent but "targeted" U.S. citizens;

* Terroristic vigilante community gang stalking, surreptitious home entry, police-tolerated vandalism;

* Secret federal "programs of personal financial destruction" that have used the IRS as an ideological tool of "social cleansing."

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 18, 2009 7:34 PM

let me get this straight, you are raised poor, work you rear end off the way everyone told you to, so that you can make a better life for yourself, and when you succeed, you must do the dumb thing ans send your kids to a school system that is ranked close to the bottom in the country. How come the other 'white' presidents didn't send their kids there?

Randy_boyd: Classic idiot.

LoveDianne72: Affirmative action? What the heck are you talking about? You would have made more sense being quiet.

Posted by: xxx1 | March 18, 2009 7:20 PM

Hmmm. So Mee-Shell is visiting D.C. schools? Betcha she'll wear something 'elegant and sleeveless'. Show those gals how to tone up their arms to attract a cool dude like "The One". Or deck him.

Posted by: segeny | March 18, 2009 7:16 PM

Alicia's name is Keys (not Keyes). It's actually her stage name. Her actual surname is Cook.

Posted by: fugitivenyc | March 18, 2009 6:26 PM

Hoe precious. Her majesty graces the "underlings" schools that aren't good enough for her two little princesses.

Change we can believe in? Nah... just more of the same except this time if you question it you are racist...

Oh well.. it's just our country and I am old enough that when it goes under it won't matter too much anyways because my best years are behind me.

Posted by: randy_boyd | March 18, 2009 6:16 PM

What about Eastern? Still, great idea. Very happy to see the Obamas embracing DC to such an extent already!

Posted by: american12 | March 18, 2009 6:06 PM

I think Michelle and her celebs need to take the show on the road... to South Carolina schools and take on Gov Sandford for his refusal to take the stimulus package.

Posted by: gmail | March 18, 2009 6:01 PM

She probably tells them how great their school is, but adds, not good enough for my two little pups. My kids go to the rich white school up the road on Wisconsin Ave.

Posted by: cr10 | March 18, 2009 5:58 PM

LoveDianne72 for your information... Affirmative action only opened the door for Mrs. Obama and leveled the playing field as it did for countless Black Americans. Hard work and determination enabled her to maintain the grades that allowed her to stay there once the door was open; so yes, I do suppose she and all the other women who also benefited will tell how affirmative action helped give them a seat at the table. It is nothing to be ashamed of and definitely nothing to ridicule her for. You did not need affirmative action, your race alone was your admission to a better education.

Posted by: OHREALLYNOW | March 18, 2009 5:45 PM

LoveDianne72, I don't understand your comment....what does affirmative action have to do with the First Lady visiting schools?

Posted by: Reader31 | March 18, 2009 5:37 PM

Is she going extol the benefits of her affirmative action education?

Posted by: LoveDianne72 | March 18, 2009 5:25 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.


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