Michelle Obama notes struggles in message to Hadiya Pendleton’s class

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CHICAGO — First Lady Michelle Obama came home to Chicago today to deliver the commencement address for  King College Prep.

Mrs. Obama delivered a speech that had everyone in the auditorium on their feet.  Her message was overall inspiring without sugar coating the violence that many here have seen and felt the impact of first hand.

She was addressing Hadyia Pendelton’s graduating class.  The 15-year-old honor student became the face of Chicago violence when she was killed just days after preforming at the president’s second inauguration.

A chair was set aside and decorated for Hadiya and her parents were at the ceremony.

“I know a lot of you have Hadiya in your hearts,” Mrs. Obama said. “So maybe you’ve been tested a lot more and a lot earlier in life than many other young people.  Maybe you have more scars than they do.  Maybe you have days when you feel more tired than someone your age should ever really feel.  But graduates, tonight, I want you to understand that every scar that you have is a reminder not just that you got hurt – but that you survived.”

Surviving and finding ways to thrive were big parts of the First Lady’s message tonight along with changing perceptions.

Mrs. Obama is a Princeton graduate who grew up on the South Side and was at the ceremony in part because King Prep beat out more than 200 schools in a nationwide college financial aid contest.





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