Saturday, March 2 is a day that Ángela Cruz will never forget. Not only did she have a nice dinner with Superintendent LaTonya M. Goffney and met a few other nice young ladies from schools across Aldine but she heard former First Lady Michelle Obama speak.
“It was surreal. It was an honor to have been in the presence of such an admirable female leader, especially to start off Women’s History Month,” said Ángela Cruz, a senior at Victory Early College High School. “It was life-changing. I truly felt as though she was talking directly to me more than a few times.“
Cruz was chosen as one of 19 students — from all of the District’s high schools — to enjoy an evening of dinner and the Houston stop of Obama’s book tour Becoming: An Intimate Conversation with Michelle Obama. The tickets were provided by Obama herself through non-profit Good Reason Houston. Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee also invited six students to attend through her Girl’s Empowerment Initiative.
“Opportunities like this only come once in a lifetime,” said Superintendent Goffney. “I am glad that our students were able to hear her tell her story in her own words. I am challenging each one of them to use what they’ve learned as they make decisions about their life, college, and career.”
During her talk, Obama shared her experience with her high school counselor who told her not to even apply to Princeton because she wouldn’t get in. As the story goes she not only attended Princeton but graduated in the top of her class.
Ra’Shaye Mayes a senior at Eisenhower took that to mean that giving up is not an option.
“I learned that I must always speak up for what I think is right and strive for something that is greater than I imagined,” said Mayes. “To know that she was there was very inspiring to me. She has been my idol for so long and I want to succeed just like her.”
Prior to arriving at the Toyota Center, students were treated to a curated dinner experience at popular restaurant Grace’s. Even before walking in the door, they received yet another surprise. One that was greater than they could have imagined.
The students were walking in just as a local book was wrapping up. The book club attendees were surprised by Michelle Obama as they dined and the First Lady stayed around to talk about life with the members. Although the AISD group missed her, their excitement and experience were captured by Houston news station KHOU.
Cruz was asked specifically about her feelings about the event.
“Seeing her teaches people who look like me, who look like my neighbors, who look like the people who go to my school that we can all grow to be who she is, and really impact people,” Cruz said.
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