Michelle Obama returned on Monday to the London girls’ school that inspired her global education initiative when she was U.S. First Lady, nine years after her first visit as part of a tour to promote her memoir.
She addressed pupils at London’s Elizabeth Garrett Anderson school, thanking them for motivating her to focus on girls’ education.
“How much talent, how much courage and how much hope there is in our girls who are struggling to do everything right and have so much working against them,” she said.
Obama urged students to believe they could do anything if they were prepared to work hard enough and called on colleges and universities to do more to attract less privileged pupils.
“They have to do the work to reach out to kids when they’re very young,” she said.
The ethnically diverse school, which Obama visited in 2009 on her first official trip to Britain, has around 60 languages spoken among its 900 female pupils. As part of her visit, she took 40 or so of its pupils to Oxford University.
Michelle Obama’s memoir chronicles her life growing up on Chicago’s South Side through her years inside the White House as a mother of two and the nation’s first African-American first lady.