Former first lady Michelle Obama told college-bound Philadelphia high school seniors Wednesday that her "forever first lady" status proves they also can succeed.
"I know that you are me," Obama told the enthusiastic crowd of students. "And if I can be standing here as your forever first lady, then you can do anything you put your mind to."
Obama giggled softly after she uttered "forever first lady," and the audience cheered wildly.
The title is the brainchild of actor Nick Cannon, who appeared with other celebrities alongside Obama at Temple University to celebrate College Signing Day — an event she began in 2014 to fete youth who've chosen to further their educations through professional training programs, community colleges, four-year institutions or the military, the Associated Press reported.
Less than a minute after calling herself "forever first lady," Obama closed her speech by calling herself "your former first lady."
What else did Obama say during her speech?
"I was where you were way back when," Obama told the students. "I was a kid who grew up on the south side of Chicago. I went to public schools my entire life. And when I decided that I wanted to go to college and I applied, do you know what one of my college counselors told me? She told me don't set me sights too high. ... She told me that some of the schools that I was trying to apply to were maybe too hard for me, they were too out of my reach. And I know so many of you all heard that too, right? There are always haters out there telling you what you can't do."
Obama shared that she went on to attend Princeton University as a work-study student "surrounded by kids with so much wealth and privilege that I thought I would never fit in."
She added to the crowd that "when Barack and I stepped foot in the White House it was a struggle," and the audience erupted with more cheers. "There were a lot of people who told us that we weren't supposed to be in the White House. That we couldn't handle the pressure, that we weren't ready. So I'm telling you, they will doubt you today, and they will doubt you for the rest of your life, but you will have some struggle — and that's OK."
Obama told the students that "no one gets through college on their own" and encouraged them to get help and support from their "posse" of fellow students and professors who believe in them.
Johnathan Phan, a first-generation college student headed to Temple, told the AP prior to Obama's speech that he was excited to hear her: "I had a little crush on her when I was little."
Here's a clip of Obama's address. Her "forever first lady" line comes just after the 8:45 mark:
(H/T: Washington Times)