• COMMENTARY: Michelle Obama Celebrates 50 By Exercising, Empowering Black Students and Dancing at the White House

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    “So my hope is that with this new effort, that instead of talking about our kids, we talk with our kids,” Michelle Obama said Thursday at the White House. “I want to hear what’s going on in their lives.  I want to inspire them to step up and commit to their education so they can have opportunities they never even dreamed of.  I’m doing this because that story of opportunity through education is the story of my life, and I want them to know that it can be their story, too, but only if they devote themselves to continuing their education past high school.”

    “And for many students, that might mean attending a college or university like the ones many of you represent.  For others, it might mean choosing a community college,” Obama said. “It might mean pursuing short-term professional training.  But no matter what they do, I want to make sure that students believe that they have what it takes to succeed beyond high school.  That’s going to be my message to young people.

    “But let’s be clear, all of that isn’t just a challenge for them,” she added. “It’s a challenge for folks like us, who are committed to helping them succeed.  And make no mistake about it, that is our mission — not simply giving speeches or raising money or hosting conferences, but to take real, meaningful action that will help our young people get into college, and more importantly, actually get their degree.”

    On Wednesday, Michelle Obama led a discussion with educators, high school teachers and counselors, and college students after a White House screening of “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete,” a coming of age story about two inner-city youngsters who are left to fend for themselves in the Bronx.  The film stars Jennifer Hudson and Jordin Sparks, and newcomers Skylan Brooks and Ethan Dizon. The film, produced by Alicia Keys, was released on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013 in limited release.

    The event on Wednesday, according to the White House, was part of the first lady’s ongoing efforts to speak directly to young people about committing to their education so that they can create a better future for themselves and their country.

    Meanwhile, as Michelle Obama prepares to turn 50 on Friday, she told People Magazine that she is re-tooling her workout regimen so she stays in shape well into her 70s and 80s.

    “I’m seeing myself shift from weight-bearing stuff – even though that continues to be important – and the heavy cardio and running, to things like yoga that will keep me flexible,” she said, “…so that I’m not falling and breaking a hip one day.”

    Now that’s leading by example.

    (AP Photo: In this Jan. 21, 2013 file photo, President Barack Obama bows as he and first lady Michelle Obama, wearing a ruby-colored chiffon and velvet Jason Wu gown, gets ready to dance at the Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.)

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