First Lady Sparks Frenzy At London All-Girls School

By Lindsey Ellerson

Apr 2, 2009 11:57am

ABC News’ Yunji de Nies and Karen Travers report:

Who caused all the shrieking at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Language School in London today?

A surprise visit from English soccer star David Beckham? Pop boy band, the Jonas Brothers?

No, that was First Lady Michelle Obama sparking a frenzy at the all-girls school, where she spoke about the importance of education, explained why being smart is cool and even shared a little girl talk about her courtship with her husband, President Obama.

The school’s focus is teaching English as a primary language to underprivileged students in an impoverished area of London. It is named for the first female doctor in the United Kingdom and its buildings are named after famous women, including a Frida Kahlo arts building and an Emily Bronte building for English studies.

"This school is incredible and you should be very proud,” the first lady said.

As she has done with school students in Washington D.C., the first lady talked about her own experience growing up in a working-class Chicago neighborhood and the influence her family had on her upbringing.

"I am an example of what’s possible when girls are loved and nurtured by the women around them,” she said.

Mrs. Obama emphasized the power of an education and said she was standing there today because of her education.

“By getting a good education you too can create your own destiny. I never cut class. I like being smart. I thought being smart was the coolest thing in the world,” she said. “You are the women that will build the world as it should be and that’s why a good education is so important.”

The first lady appeared to get choked up when she told the students, “All of you are jewels you are precious and you touch my heart.”

Mrs. Obama even shared a little girl talk with the students, ranging in age from 11-17-years old, and told them about her first date with her husband. She said she thought Obama was cute and was inspired by him speaking to people at a community meeting in Chicago.

The first lady gloated a bit about her European trip agenda, compared to her husband’s. “My husband is going to be very jealous of how I spent my afternoon. He’s off meeting important people but this is more fun,” she said.

The first lady by a student choir performing a number called, “Believe,” drama and modern dance performances and an explanation of the school’s leadership program.

The overall theme of the performances focused on achieving goals, overcoming setbacks and never giving up.

After her remarks, Mrs. Obama greeted the choir girls and gave them each a hug and was mobbed by students seated in the audience as she made her way to greet them. Throughout her visit, the girls cheered and clapped loudly for her and many wiped away tears.

Earlier the students buzzed with anticipation for the special surprise guest they were expecting. Not surprising, the rumor mill was in overdrive and many of the students thought it could be Mrs. Obama coming. The students let out a cheer and squeals when she finally arrived.

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