Michelle Obama used her final address as First Lady of the United States of America to speak directly to our nation’s youth. With an earnest tone, she encouraged young people to strive to get a good education, and she honored the teachers who work to educate them every day.

She reminded young people that even though there seems to be an attack on immigrants and religious freedom, this country was founded by people who were seeking the right to practice their beliefs freely. Moreover, she reminded them she and her husband, President Barack Obama, had allowed the message of “the power of hope” to carry them throughout their journey of leading the nation, and it helped them to rise above the “doubts and division, anger and fear” they faced.

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Obama stayed true to her message of education being the way forward, exhorting young people to get a good education so they can contribute to the national conversation, lead, and build this country, and as they do so, she pledged to support them for the rest of her life.

Fighting back tears as she neared the end of her speech, Obama said, “I want our young people to know that the matter and that they belong. So don’t be afraid.”

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She closed with: “Being your First Lady has been the greatest honor of my life, and I hope I made your proud.”

FLOTUS also honored the 2017 School Counselor of the Year, Terri Tchorzynski from the Calhoun Area Career Center in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Watch the entire event below, as part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative: