Michelle Obama to RETURN to London girls’ school that made her ‘quake’

Michelle Obama to RETURN to North London girls’ school that made her ‘quake’ and inspired a passage in her new book after saying ‘I wasn’t prepared fully prepared to feel what I did’

  • Michelle Obama first visited the North London girls’ school in 2009
  • In her bestselling memoir, ‘Becoming’ she spoke of the school’s impact on her
  • She will now return on Monday to give a talk on the importance of education 

Michelle Obama was given a pop star’s welcome when she visited a North London girls’ school in 2009, and now she’s returning for a third time.

During a solo visit to Britain, the then First Lady of the US popped into Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Language College and proved a huge hit and also becoming inspired by the school. 

Mrs Obama, 54, recently released her bestselling memoir, Becoming. In her book she detailed the profound impact her visit to the comprehensive secondary school had on her.

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‘I wasn’t prepared fully prepared to feel what I did,’ wrote the former First Lady. 

‘The building was nothing special – a boxy brick building on a nondescript street. But as I settled into a falling chair on stage and started watching the performance […] something inside me began to quake.

‘I almost felt myself fall back into my own past.’ 

On Monday, Mrs Obama will visit one of London’s poorest boroughs to give a talk on the importance of education in front of 250 pupils EGA and Mulberry school as part of her book tour. 

Michelle was joined by her daughters Malia and Sasha for another trip to the UK in 2015

The girls of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Language College in London were thrilled to meet – and hug – the First Lady back in 2009

She will sit alongside three former pupils and the school’s executive head, Jo Dibb during the talk in Tower Hamlets. 

Mrs Dibb said she became emotional after seeing what Michelle Obama had written about her and the school.  

‘I’d just come out of the gym and the news story had been Whatsapped to me by someone and I sat in my car at seven in the morning reading it,’ she said.

The Elizabeth Garrett Anderson girls so impressed the First Lady that she invited them to hear her speak at Oxford University in 2011…before inviting a select group of 12 students to visit the White House in 2012

The First Lady, a graduate of Harvard Law School, pictured hugging students at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Language College in 2009 is hoping to inspire another group of students with a visit to the Mulberry School in east London 

‘If we have been part of what Michelle Obama has done in the wider sphere, well, just wow. That makes me feel as if we’ve done something special.’  

The mutual admiration between Obama and the school was further heightened when a return visit to the UK in 2011 saw her invite pupils to hear her speak at Oxford University. The following year, she invited a dozen of them to visit the White House.

Students spoke of the huge confidence boost the encounter gave them as Mrs Obama encouraged the girls to follow their dreams and to ‘stay hopeful and keep working, despite their lack of privilege’. 

A dozen schoolgirls visited the White House in Washington after Mrs Obama invited them in 2012. One of them, Gamze Kaplin, pictured second row, far right, has described her time with the First Lady as a massive confidence booster

One student, Gamze Kaplan, 17 when Mrs Obama invited her to the White House, said she was determined to pursue a degree at Cambridge and hopes to one day follow Mrs Obama into the field of law. 

During her first visit, Obama addressed a crowd comprising of 900 refugee pupils who filled the halls and classrooms with 55 languages.  

Far from being overwhelmed by the adulation she received on her first meeting, the First Lady wrapped her arms around pupils and punched the air in appreciation as they performed.

Mrs Obama said she ‘knew they’d (the pupils) have to push back against all the stereotypes that would get put on them, all the ways they’d be defined before they’d had a chance to define themselves. They’d need to fight the invisibility that comes with being poor, female and of colour.’ 







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