Don't Quit, First Lady Tells District Students
By DeNeen L. Brown
Everyone has a bad day, including the president of the United States, but it is important not to give up, first lady Michelle Obama told a group of students at an after-school program in Southeast Washington today.
Obama read the book "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day," by Judith Viorst, a story of a kid whose day starts out bad and only gets worse: Gum in his hair, missing school assignment, no dessert in his lunch bag and lima beans for dinner.
"Is it going to get any better for this kid?" Obama asked.
"No," the students shouted.
Obama sat on a small chair in front of a green chalk board -- where "Ferebee-Hope Welcomes Mrs. Obama" was written in white chalk -- to drive home her message to the students to stay in school, no matter the frustrations.
She asked each of the students their names and ages. She told them how proud she was of them and asked who liked to read. All the 18 students, sitting in a circle around her, raised their hands.
She asked which books: One girl said, "Dr. Seuss." Another said, "Spongebob." Another said "The Jonas Brothers."
She told them her daughters love the Jonas Brothers. But she didn't know they had a book.
Obama visited the program in her continued effort as first lady to reach out to the D.C. community. The after-school program is run by "Community In Schools," which is one of the largest drop-out prevention programs in the country, according to a news release. The program provides tutoring, eyeglasses, a safe haven and other basic needs to low-income students so that they can concentrate on learning.
After reading the book, Obama asked the students what they do when they have a bad day.
"Don't be mad," said a student.
Obama told a story about watching her younger daughter try to ride a bike up a hill. The more she was frustrated, the harder it got. Obama told her daughter that the more energy she put into being frustrated, the harder it would become. When her daughter stopped concentrating on her frustration, Obama said, she got up the hill.
She asked them what else they could do when they had a bad day.
Remember: "Nobody's life is perfect," said a student.
"Every day is not a good day," said another student.
"Don't quit," said another student.
Obama paused there like a teacher who had spotted the perfect response to the lesson:
"Good answer," Obama said.
"We all have bad days," she told them. "But please promise me that you will not quit."
Web Politics Editor
May 13, 2009; 5:59 PM ET
Categories: The First Lady
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