D.C. school gets visit from first lady
First lady Michelle Obama brandished a paintbrush Thursday to add a little color to a mural at an elementary school in Northwest Washington and demonstrate the value of community service.
Obama joined a group of congressional spouses at the Marie H. Reed Community Learning Center in the Adams Morgan neighborhood, where they painted murals of butterflies and flowers around a courtyard and helped plant a butterfly garden and a vegetable plot.
The event came a day after the Congressional Club's annual luncheon.
“It's so good that everybody has made a commitment to step out of our tea dresses and away from the crystal and to roll up our sleeves and be ready to paint and to get a little dirty,” said Obama, who arrived wearing canvas low-top sneakers and with her sleeves rolled up.
The first lady joked that school officials were taking a risk by entrusting their walls to well-intentioned but “not necessarily artistic people.” Obama and the lawmakers' spouses worked with students from the Reed Center and young people from two after-school programs that were recently honored at the White House: the Sitar Art Center and Higher Achievement, an academic enrichment program for middle school students. The students had outlined and painted the backgrounds for the murals ahead of time.
Adams Morgan is largely an immigrant neighborhood, and English is a second language for many students at the Reed Center. The school offers a dual-language Spanish-English program.
“I'm really excited because this is my dream come true,” fourth-grader Farhana Alam said before the first lady's arrival. “I really wanted to see the president, but at least I could see his wife. My next dream is to go to the White House and shake hands with the president and make friendship with his daughters.” Obama used black, red and yellow paint to fill in one of the outlined butterflies. Underneath, she wrote a message: “Dream big dreams!”
-- Associated Press
Washington Post editors
| April 29, 2010; 5:31 PM ET
Categories: DC | Tags: Elementary school, Garden, Michelle Obama, Mural, Plant, Washington
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