Michelle Obama Visits Wolfson Campus
By Rebeka Silva
First lady Michelle Obama arrived at Miami’s Freedom Tower on Oct. 15 to speak to more than 500 people about community involvement in education.
Organized by the Florida Campus Compact, an organization that supports student public service, the event, a $250-a-plate fundraiser, was sold out
Outside of the Freedom Tower protestors held signs, some which said “real change 2010” and “we are not your ATM”. Obama remained calm as she entered the chamber with a smile on her face and wearing a floral dress.
While Obama seemed calm, those attending were excited and anxious like Shawnese Eberharte who is a 20 year-old paralegal studies student at Wolfson Campus.
“I’m so enthusiastic,” Eberharte said laughing as she sat down to eat the Caprese salad at her table, “You might even see on the news ‘student passes out [because] of excitement [of] seeing Michelle Obama.’ ”
Rev. Monsignor Franklyn Casale, president of St. Thomas University delivered the invocation stating that Obama’s visit to a building of such historic significance celebrates the men and women in Florida’s diverse educational community.
Dr. Eduardo Padrón, president of Miami Dade College, took the podium shortly after Rev. Casale to give the introductory speech, during which he mentioned his trip to the White House two days earlier.
“I was truly amazed to see how well the president and first lady can dance salsa,” Padrón said. “They do it so well they can win any salsa contest here in Miami.”
He then introduced Obama saying that he was delighted and privileged to be in the presence of the first lady.
Obama gave a compelling speech on service learning and how it affects our world, making an example of her self.
“I started my career at a big fancy law firm making a whole lot of money and when I decided to leave for a public service job, let me tell you, my family and friends started to worry about my sanity,” the first lady said laughing.
But she said that she knew right away she had made the right decision because she saw how she helped each of the extraordinary young people contribute to the community.
“I knew I was helping to change people’s lives in ways that I couldn’t, sitting behind a fancy desk,” Obama said.
She said that with budget cuts and layoffs it isn’t easy for public service workers and that’s why she appreciates all the hard work.
“It’s with these challenges that we face today, your work to give young people the tools and the inspiration to pursue public service couldn’t be more critical,” Obama said, “and you [public service workers] of all people know that.”
Obama also had a strong message for students stressing that today, more than ever, skilled, committed, service-minded young people are needed to step forward.
“The lesson is pretty clear, and that is that each of us have a role to play, and all of us have something to offer,” said Obama. “No matter where you come from, or what you do for a living, you can make a difference in someone’s life and in doing so, you can make a difference in your own life as well.”
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