Well, this is it—for eight years we’ve cherished the national treasure that is Michelle Obama, and now we mourn her departure as she delivers her final speech as First Lady before officially leaving the White House later this month. At an event honoring the 2017 School Counselor of the Year, our FLOTUS told her supporters that “being your first lady has been the greatest honor of my life, and I hope I’ve made you proud.” (Sniff.) And while we’ll never be ready to see her go, we can’t deny that Michelle has taught us well, from sharing the secrets to her all-American style to defending the rights of our fellow women. Here, some life lessons we learned from the woman who still continues to change the course of our country’s history.
"Do not ever let anyone make you feel like you don’t matter, or like you don’t have a place in our American story—because you do. And you have a right to be exactly who you are. But I also want to be very clear: This right isn’t just handed to you. No, this right has to be earned every single day. You cannot take your freedoms for granted. Just like generations who have come before you, you have to do your part to preserve and protect those freedoms. And that starts right now, when you’re young."
"If your family doesn’t have much money, I want you to remember that in this country, plenty of folks, including me and my husband—we started out with very little. But with a lot of hard work and a good education, anything is possible—even becoming President. That’s what the American Dream is all about."
"It is our fundamental belief in the power of hope that has allowed us to rise above the voices of doubt and division, of anger and fear that we have faced in our own lives and in the life of this country. Our hope that if we work hard enough and believe in ourselves, then we can be whatever we dream, regardless of the limitations that others may place on us. The hope that when people see us for who we truly are, maybe, just maybe they, too, will be inspired to rise to their best possible selves."
"Empower yourselves with a good education, then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise. Lead by example with hope, never fear. And know that I will be with you, rooting for you and working to support you for the rest of my life."