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National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards

(applause) Mrs. Obama: Thank you guys. Thank you all. Stop that. (applause) Oh my goodness, all
right, that’s enough. You guys, please. Thank you for that. (laughter) Oh my goodness, now
I’m embarrassed. (laughter) Female Speaker: Why
are you embarrassed? Mrs. Obama: I don’t know,
it’s just the lights, the cameras, you guys. (laughter) Well, hello everyone. Welcome to the White House
for the 2016 National Arts and Humanities Youth
Program Awards. (applause) Are you guys excited? Multiple Speakers: Yes. Mrs. Obama: I am too. (laughter) So I hope everybody’s been
treating you all well. You’re satisfied? No complaints? Because I can
still fire people. (laughter) Would never do that. Welcome. Let me start by thanking
from the bottom of my heart, oh gosh, so many people, but
I want to start with George Stevens, oh, who has just
been an amazing friend and partner. (applause) And sitting right beside
him, Margo Lion, oh my god. (applause) It’s been a really neat
journey, hasn’t it? Yeah, it has been. I want to recognize Mary
Schmidt Campbell who could not be here today, but she
has been just a tremendous support. (applause) And Megan — Megan Byer who
stepped in and has just been an amazing addition
to the team. Megan, thank you. Thank you for your
passion and your focus. I love you, I love you, and
to the entire President’s Committee on the arts and
humanities, this is my team. These are my people here. I was just talking
to them earlier. I mean, we have done some
amazing things together. It’s been a tremendous ride
and I can’t tell you how much fun it’s been to just
do great things for kids all over this country. And I couldn’t have done
it without you, thank you. Not just for the work that
you’ve done on this event, but for everything that
you’ve done for the past eight years. From the day we started, all
of us, we made it a priority to open up this house to as
many young people from as many backgrounds
as possible. Because we wanted them to
understand that this is their house too. Female Speaker: Amen. Mrs. Obama: And that’s —
and that’s not always the case. (applause) There are kids all over this
country, all over the world, who think that places like
this are not for them so they’re intimidated by it
and it defines the limits of who they can be. Well, we want
to change that. We work to change that. We want them to know that
they should always feel home within these walls and so
many important institutions all over the world. At the same time, we also
wanted to bring exciting arts programming to students
across the country and to get more kids engaged in the
arts at their schools and also in their communities. And the PCAH has been at
the heart of both of these efforts. We’ve done just some
really cool things. The Turnaround Arts Talent
Show, which is one of my favorite things, just having
kids doing their thing up here in front of
George and Martha. (applause) The National Student Poet
Program which highlights some of the most amazingly
gifted young people you ever want to see to the
Creative Youth Development Partnership to the awards
that we’re giving out today. (applause) For these awards for the
past eight years, 3,000 programs have applied for
just these awards and we’ve honored more than 100
programs from 33 cities — from 33 states, D.C.,
and nine countries. And we couldn’t have done
any of this without the PCAH for everything — their
energy, their focus, their commitment. You know, you guys have just
gone above and beyond every step of the way. And that’s not always
the case for committees. Some people just like to see
their name on a — on some stationery, but
not this team. So I want to thank you for
making this all possible. I hope you — that
you’re proud of what you accomplished, because I’m so
proud of you and it’s been just a great ride. I also want to acknowledge
the other folks who are here who have been sponsors,
who have been tremendous resources and partners. Folks from the NEA, from
the NEH, the folks from the Institute of Museum and
Library Services — we’ve done some great
things together. Ambassador Cabanas who’s
here from — representing his country. They’re getting a
wonderful award. Thank you all for helping us
recognize outstanding after school programs
across the country. And finally, I want to thank
all of the teachers and administrators, all the
volunteers who make these programs possible. Some of you are here today
with us in this room, and many of you are watching and
cheering from back home. And as someone who used to
be an executive director of a non-profit organization,
I know that you all are the unsung heroes of these
programs doing the unrecognized and sometimes
unpaid work of making these program work, filling out
countless forms, applying for funding, attending
endless meetings, going over spreadsheets and budgets in
the middle of the night. This kind of work is hard,
too often it’s thankless, but you all do it because
you see first hand the transformative impact that
the arts can have on our young people and we’re
grateful to you all for doing this kind of work. Through your programs,
students have become poets and dancers, they’ve
become filmmakers and photographers, and more
importantly, they’ve become leaders in their schools
and in their communities. They’ve written scripts
and short stories, they’ve organized performances and
exhibitions, and together they’ve learned the power of
discipline, of hard work — right? And teamwork, right? These are the exact skills
that are critical to success not just in the arts, but in
everything, every academic subject that you are going
to touch, and in any career that you guys are
going to pursue. So you don’t know how much
you’re getting, but we do because we’re old. We know. (laughter) That’s why kids who have
gotten involved in the arts have better grades, they are
more likely to graduate from high school, they are more
likely to then go on to college. And to anyone who still
somehow doubts the power of the arts to transform
students lived, to anyone who still isn’t completely
convinced, I just urge you to find one of these
students and talk to them, you know? They’re here today but
they’re not just here. They’re all over
the country. They’re in communities
everywhere. But we’ve got a couple. We’ve got Noemi
Nebron who is here. She — as recently as
this spring, Noemi was a promising young woman
growing up in Boston who wanted to serve others but
didn’t know where to start. But then she got involved
with the IBA Youth Development Program and she
helped make a video project about women’s rights. And today she is a
passionate advocate for social justice
in her community. That’s where you can go
with programs like these. We have a young man, Rafael
Bitanga who is here all the way from Kodiak, Alaska. How was that trip? (laughter) A few years ago, Rafael
and his family came to the United States from the
Philippines, and like so many young people who’ve
immigrated to this country, Rafael worked hard in school
and quickly established himself as a leader
and a role model. And through the Baranov
Museum and Film intensive, he became both a filmmaker
and a photographer. (laughter) And he even started his own
photography business to help support his family. So, Noemi and Rafael and,
you know, I could tell you about every single student
or young person who’s here today — but those are some
of the stories that you’ll hear from them. And I want them all to know
how proud I am of them. I’m proud of you guys,
always proud of you guys. You make this
job worth doing. Just having the honor of
getting to meet so many amazing young people. These kids represent the
very best of America and they remind us all
of who we really are. (applause) That’s for you, right? You can’t even
believe it, right? It’s all for you. But we’re a country that
believes in our young people, all of them. We believe that every single
child has boundless promise no matter who they are,
where they come from, or how much money their
parents have. We’ve got to remember that. We believe that each of
these young people is a vital part of the
great American story. I can’t say that enough. (applause) And it is important to our
continued greatness to see these kids as ours, not as
them, not as other, but as ours. Because we want them to know
that if they’re willing to work for it — and so many
are — that they can be anything they want. That’s what this
country is about. And we can never
forget that. Anywhere in the country
— these kids are ours. And that’s really the power
of programs like these, that’s the message that they
send to our young people every single day. So I want to end by once
again, thanking all of you — all the adults here too. (laughter) For making these
programs possible. And I want to thank all of
the young people for working so hard and don’t
ever lose hope. Don’t ever feel fear,
you belong here. You got that? (applause) So — those people are
clapping for you so don’t forget that, for all of you. Remember that. Remember that part of this
day and keep working hard. Because it’s going to be so
important now to be educated and focused because no one
can ever take your education from you. You got that? Spread the word, you got it? I’m looking at
all of you all. So, it’s time to get
this show on the road. So it is my pleasure to
welcome to the stage someone who’s been an outstanding
partner in the work that we’ve done, the co-chair of
the PCAH, my dear friend George Stevens. (applause) George Stevens: Thank you. So, thank you so much. So beautifully
stated and so moving. With this occasion when we
present the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program
Awards is a watershed for the Obama President’s
Committee. It is at once an
exhilarating day where we celebrate the children, and
it is a bittersweet day for the members of
our committee. It is our last public event
here at the White House after eight years of having
the opportunity to work industriously to advance
the arts and the humanities during the Obama years. We have enjoyed the
challenge and I admit on behalf of the members of our
committee, we have enjoyed the action. The first lady has
encouraged and inspired our committee’s unique effort
in Turnaround Arts that has transforming 68 schools
across the United States. And these schools were
chosen because they were low performing schools. And our Turnaround Arts
Program and our outstanding Turnaround artists have
helped elevate student achievement and
transform those schools. (applause) Thank you. We have watched this program
grow beyond the capacity of our small but able
committee staff. So we wanted to
ensure its future. And we have reached an
agreement, which we signed this morning at the Kennedy
Center with Deborah Rudder, its president so the
Turnaround Arts will continue managed at the
Kennedy Center, by the Kennedy Center, continuing
to relate to the President’s Committee. (applause) And the President’s
Committee led with energy by our executive director Megan
Byer, has created a legacy fund that guarantees
financial support for three years so we can be certain
that Turnaround Arts can continue successfully
at the Kennedy Center. (applause) In April, our committee led
a cultural delegation to Cuba. It was just weeks after
President Obama’s historic trip to Havana. It was the first official
cultural meeting among American artists and Cuban
artists in over 50 years. And we found — not to our
surprise — that we share much in common with our
Cuban artist colleagues. We were impressed by their
vitality, by their artistry, by their vision, and on our
last night we had a rousing concert that led into the
morning where Cubans finest artists made music with
members of our delegation of Joshua Bell, of John Lloyd
Young, of Dave Matthews, Usher, and Smokey Robinson
and it was a glorious night. And it was a heartfelt
farewell, Mr. Ambassador, and please convey our
deep affection for your colleagues who we spent so
much time with in Cuba. We were especially impressed
with Cuba’s dedication to seeing that the arts are a
vital part of the lives of young people. And we saw how their work
related to our youth program awards and so we’re happy
that Cuba’s work with children in the arts will
be recognized at today’s ceremony. So now we present the
National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards
for the 18th time. We recognize today 12
programs that were chosen from hundreds of nominations
for their success enhancing the lives of young people
by cultivating their imagination and building new
pathways to learning and self-discovery and doing so
at times when children are most vulnerable — after
school and during the summer. These programs make the
world a better place nourishing the talents of
the generations going to lead in the future — you. And on behalf of Margo and
all of our committee we want to thank your federal
colleagues, our partner institutions, the endowment
for the arts, the endowment for the humanities, the
National Museum Services and libraries and our special
partners the Assembly of State Art Agencies. Now, there are many benefits
to receiving these National Youth Program Awards. And I think you saw this
just moments ago, but the one aspect that is
consistently cited in our surveys as life changing for
the children is their visit to the White House
with the First Lady. So we want to thank you,
Michelle Obama, for your inspired participation in
these awards over the past eight years and in a broader
sense for your dedication throughout your time here to
elevating the arts and the humanities in the life of
our country and we thank you for that. (applause) Do you get more applause
when the President’s out of the country? (laughter) Now, I am delighted to
introduce a participant from one of this year’s
award-winning programs. His name is Jayden Lim and
he is from Tribal Youth Ambassadors. Jaden Lim. (applause) Jayden Lim: Good
afternoon everyone. I want to thank the First
Lady and the President’s Committee for allowing me
the opportunity to speak to you today. I’m honored to be here
representing the Tribal Youth Ambassadors. I’m a Pomo Indian from
Northern California, in some ways, I’m your
average 15-year-old. I’m a sophomore in high
school, I love music, and I’m currently
learning how to drive. (laughter) In some ways, I’m very
different from the other students at my school. I run my own DJ business and
I’m descended from a group of people that barely
survived the colonization of California. Being Native America, I’m
subject to many stereotypes. I’ve been called Pocahontas,
I’ve been asked if I lived in a teepee, and during one
year at school I had to watch my own school dance
show with students running across the stage in
headdresses and resurrecting people from the dead. As a Native American, it is
my responsibility to correct misinformation such as that. Our history has many stories
of sacrifice and survival. We believe that these
stories should be honored. I’m often reminded that I’m
lucky to live during a time where our histories can be
shared and our cultures can be celebrated. My fellow ambassadors and I
demonstrate not only how our people survive,
but how we thrive. Thriving is important,
especially when the odds are stacked against you. Looking at the statistics
for Native youth, we are unlikely to graduate from
high school or college, and we face the highest rates of
suicide and depression in the United States. One strategy for change is
to bring together Native youth to address
their own needs. Our group of Pomo and Miwok
Indians first came together in 2010. We — with the help of
Miromaa Aboriginal Language and Technology Centre. We created six
language apps. We addressed stereotypes by
learning story telling and theatre. We held a play that
educated 1600 students. We learned how to operate
GIS and worked with Native professionals to create
a map that holds 100 California Indians that
everyone should know. Through being a part of the
Tribal Youth Ambassadors I’ve had the opportunity to
meet indigenous leaders all around the world. I’ve been fortunate enough
to meet Native comedians such as the late Charlie
Hill and (inaudible). I’ve met indigenous leaders
such as Garrett Couch, Karen Beasmen, Darren McKinney,
Shoney Shimo, and my grandpa, Joseph Meyers. I’ve learned for my mother
that it takes commitment and dedication to be a leader
who reaches the mind of a 15 year old. (laughter) Oral history has been passed
down from our family for many generations. It is empowering because
it frames our people in a positive light. It has taught me about
my people’s rebellion, resistance, and resilience. It is not always easy
sharing these stories and being a voice of our
ancestors but it is a part of who am as a Native
person, as a Californian, and as a U.S. citizen. While working with the
Tribal Youth Ambassadors I’ve met Acjachemen
storyteller named Jacque Nunez. She told me a story of
a girl named Siolyam. When her mother Molya still
carried her in her womb, she liked to rub her big belly
and look up at the stars. And when she saw her baby’s
face for the first time, she was amazed at the brown
clusters of spots on her face. It looked just
like the night sky. You might have called them
freckles but back then they were just spots. As Siolyam grew older, she
loved to sing and when she did, the animals would
cuddle around her, the bunnies would gather at her
feet, and the deer would nuzzle her elbow. But the dragonfly would
swirl around and around her until it touched
her shoulder. And in the California tribal
tradition, when a dragonfly landed on you it meant
you were pure of heart. One day a boy named Ashwit
decided he was going to play a trick on Siolyam. He didn’t like the attention
she got when she sang. When the dragonfly landed
on her, he became angry. He decided to show her that
she wasn’t the only one who could be special. So he gathered an abalone
shell, and he mixed clay and water, and he dotted his
face to look like hers. And he looked at his
reflection in the creek and he laughed. He grabbed his grandmother’s
clapper stick and he strutted into the
village singing. All the children laughed and
Siolyam’s heart was broken. She ran to the creek
where her grandmother was collecting basket materials
and she said, “Oh grandmother, why do I have
these spots on my face?” Her grandmother saw two
leaves floating in the river nearby. One was spotted
and one was plain. She grabbed them and said,
“Siolyam, which one do you notice?” “The spotted one
said Siolyam.” “Yes, and the caterpillar
knows this one too. He eats this leaf in
order to transform into a beautiful butterfly. Don’t question the creator
who gave you your spots. He gave you them for a
reason and to those who love you it has
brought much joy.” Siolyam learned to
appreciate her spots and later helps Ashwit
with his self-esteem. Both of them learn to change
their perspectives about themselves and each other. Through telling the story to
Native youth and non-Native youth we hope that they can
understand that making fun of one’s culture is wrong. No one should be defined
by another’s ignorance. (applause) I would like to close with
these words from my fellow tribal ambassadors, “We are
Indian and we are proud. We still sing. We still laugh. We still dream. We still stand and are
willing to remember what our grandmothers and
grandfathers and fathers and mothers tell us because we
are Indian and we are proud. (speaking Native language) Thank you. (applause) Male Speaker: Ladies and
gentlemen, the presentation of the 2016 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards. Jane Chu: Good afternoon,
I’m Jane Chu, chair of the National Endowment for the
Arts, and our first honor goes to the Bay Area Video
Coalition’s Next Gen program. This is a free after school
media arts program and at helping youth develop their
creative voice, it empowers them to overcome those
barriers that could keep them from attending college
and have meaningful careers. And so these Next Gen
students create digital media art. They’re mentored by
practicing artists and technologists. They showcase their
work to the public. And last year, in 2015
alone, Next Gen student works were screened at 29
different film festivals across the country. Ninety-one percent of Next
Gen graduated enter advanced education programs or media
arts related careers. So congratulations to the
Bay Area Video Coalitions Next Gen program. (applause) Our next honor goes to the
Sphinx Overture program. The Sphinx Overture program
provides free music education to elementary age
students in Detroit and Flint Michigan. There’s 15 community sites
and the program works to close the gap in music
education by offering free instruments and beginner
level instruction to over 285 children every year. Students are encouraged to
continue their study beyond the program and they’re
eligible to enroll in either free private lessons or
feeder programs through its partners the Detroit
Symphony Orchestra and the Flint Institute of Music. Congratulations to the
Sphinx Overture program. (applause) And the next honor goes to
West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology’s
Teen Arts + Tech program. This program engages teens
in the practical application of design through hands
on learning experiences. And the teens are guided
by professional teaching artists and the students
learn to elevate their voice and effect social change
by applying skills in photography, video game
design, illustration, fashion design, and
audio/video production. And in addition to regular
studio instruction, this after school program offers
eight week paid summer employment as well as
opportunities for alumni employment and
two-generation support services for students
and their families. Congratulations to the West
Michigan Center for Arts and Technology’s Teen
Arts + Tech program. (applause) Kit Matthew: Good afternoon, I’m Kit Matthew, director of the Institute of Museum
and Library Services. And this is so exciting
to have you all here. Let me first introduce my
first awardee, which is the Mexic-Arte Museum Screen It! They are guided by
professional artists, graphic designers, and
curators and they serve over 2100 students annually
throughout Austin, Texas. The program offers a wide
variety of visual arts workshops and it introduces
students to the principles of screenwriting and
careers in the arts. The aim of Screen It! is to reduce the rate of
gang activity, drug use, and contact with the
juvenile justice system. A recent evaluation
indicated that 100 percent of its participants
were crime-free after participating
in the program. So congratulations
to Screen It! (applause) The New York Transit Museum’s Subway Sleuth — I love that name — engages
students on the autistic spectrum in activities that
focus on a topic they love — subways and trains. By immersing students in
this subject with which the students are fluent,
the program stimulates communication, fosters a
sense of competence, and helps develop critical
social skills. All of which takes place at
the museum’s unique location in a decommissioned subway
station, making it a dynamic backdrop for learning
setting a course for success. Congratulations. (applause) And we return to the Tribal
Youth Ambassadors program at the California Museum and
Cultural Center which reaches Native youth in
Sonoma, Lake, and Mendocino counties with engaging
humanities based activities. Lessons taught by Native
adults, elders, and professionals allow youth
to explore questions about Native American history and
culture within the larger context of a society. As a result, Native youth
cultivate new talents and find their voices to express
their cultural heritage with others. The program boasts that 100
percent of its participants stay in school and advance
to the next grade level, which is fantastic. Congratulations. (applause) Peggy Plympton: Thank you, I too am thrilled to be able to be here to be part of
honoring these wonderful programs. I’m Peggy Plympton, I’m the
deputy chair of the National Endowment for
the Humanities. The first of the humanities
programs in Kodiak, Alaska, the Baranov Museum’s Youth
Summer Film and History Intensive presents summer
study of a variety of historical topics through
which students create an original documentary film. Taking place at both the
Kodiak public library, and the Baranov museum, it
provides students with a plethora of research tools,
mentors, and archives useful for their projects. Through these activities,
the students are empowered to share their knowledge
and contribute to the rich, historic narrative
of Kodiak. Congratulations
on your award. (applause) IBA’s Youth Development Program prepares young people for college and
careers through rigorous courses focused on culture
and civic engagement. With the humanities at the
core, the workshops span multiple areas including
history, theatre, spoken word, and poster design. Situated in Villa Victoria,
an affordable housing community in Boston’s South
End, the program has seen great success with 100
percent of the students advancing to the next grade
in school and 100 percent of high school seniors
graduating on time. (applause) In Harrisonburg, Virginia,
the Reading Roadshow, affectionately known as the
Gus Bus, brings high quality literature to children and
their families directly to the communities in
which they live. Each week, children
participate in story time, they check out books to read
at home, and receive a food bag full of staples to
supplement family nutrition. Sponsored by James Madison
University, the program eliminates transportation
barriers, supports school readiness, and increases
parental involvement for families who are otherwise
unable to access these resources. Congratulations. (applause) Margo Lion: I’m Margo Lion. I’m thrilled to be here. Co-chair with George Stevens
of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. And I’d just like to say,
how can anybody doubt the hope for the future of this
country when you listen to these children today? (applause) Hope and change are going to
continue to happen for sure. (applause) First using movement as a
vehicle to foster students personal development, the
Adrienne Arsht Centers AileyCamp Miami is a
six-week rigorous dance program that offers dance
training to help — to help teens develop self awareness
and respect for themselves and for others. Based in the Arsht Center’s
world-class facilities, the program provides
students with tuition, transportation, meals, and
dancewear free of charge. In addition to delivering
high quality dance education, the AileyCamp
Miami aims to inspire students to strive for
success in both school and life. Congratulations. (applause) I think these are the best
photo ops we’ve ever had. Mrs. Obama: Last year. Margo Lion: That’s right. (applause) Since 1995, the St. Louis
Artworks have enriched the lives of thousands of teens
in St. Louis using art as a medium to implement
innovative workforce training and build
valuable life skills. All, I have to say, while
earning a paycheck. Apprentices work with
professional artists in various art disciplines
including the visual arts, dance, theater,
and digital media. Over the past 20 years,
St. Louis Artworks has seen 90 percent of its
participants graduate from high school and pursue
college or other post secondary opportunities. Congratulations. (applause) As the longest — (laughter) As the longest running LGBT
youth theater program in the country, True Colors: Out
Youth Theater provides year round programming to
90 young people from neighborhoods
throughout Boston. Youth who participate in
True Colors use theater as a tool for social change while
developing skills that lead to resiliency, personal
fulfillment, and community engagement. Additionally, the program
strengthens the student’s self-reliance and belief
in their own capacity for success. Eighty percent — wait, wait
— eighty percent of True Colors alum attend a
four-year college. Congratulations True Colors. (applause) Rick Areola: Hi, I’m Rick
Areola and I’m a member of the President’s Committee on
Arts and Humanities and I get to do my part in
English and Spanish. It’s our ability as a nation
to work across cultures and understand our shared
humanity is another facet of the President’s Committee’s
mission, and it is my distinct privilege to be
here with you today to introduce the program’s
International Spotlight honor. The International Spotlight
honors excellence. Last spring, we were proud
to lead a delegation of five U.S. cultural agencies to Cuba. Representatives of the
President’s Committee visited a number of after
school arts and humanities programs, many of which
mirror our award-winners in the commitment to students
in need and to their excellence in
their practice. To witness the skill, the
discipline, the sheer talent of the young artists,
musicians, and dancers, was to experience the beauty of
Cuban culture and we are pleased that as a result of
our collective efforts of the delegation along with
our friends from Havana, we are celebrating one of those
programs from Cuba here today. (speaking Spanish) Now, I would like to invite
our distinguished guest Ambassador Jose Ramon
Cabanas Rodriguez to join us in the presentation of the
International Spotlight honor. (applause) In recognition of the
dynamic field of creative youth development programs
that enrich the lives of young people throughout
Cuba, we are pleased to present the International
Spotlight honor to Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba as a
representative of this nation’s community
of practice. Now in it’s 25th year, Lizt
Alfonso Dance Cuba School has brought world-class
dance instruction to thousands of
students in Havana. (speaking Spanish) (applause) Margo Lion: And now I’d like
to introduce the Sphinx Organization musicians to
play the perfect fourth quartet. Thanks so much. (applause) ♪ (music playing) ♪ (applause) Mrs. Obama: Is this on? Hello? Oh, wow. All right, drop the mic. (laughter) You could tell they
were serious, right? They came up, they took
their time, they tuned their instruments. You were playing with the
bottom of your thing, and — wow. You know, see this is —
this is why we do what we do. Because if anybody were to
walk past these kids on the street they would make
assumptions about what they could do and who
they could be. And we do that all the time
to each other and to our kids. We put them in boxes and in
baskets and we place lids on them and we don’t let them
out because of our issues. All of these young people
have some kind of potential in them and if we don’t
invest in them as a nation — regardless of where they
come from or what color they are — if we don’t
invest in them we lose. Imagine this talent
bottled up in these kids, unexplored, uninvested,
there are millions of kids like this in this country
who do not have the resources to become
everything that they could be. And shame on us if we
can’t do this better. But fortunately, these
programs are doing the job that sometimes the bigger
society fails to do. And so we capture this
magic in a bottle. You guys are phenomenal. And you’re very cute too. (applause) Mrs. Obama: (laughs). So, that was amazing. Amazing. There is nothing that
any of you can’t do. This is what you have to do. You have to stay in
school — you have to. You have to go to college. You have to get your degree. Because that’s the one thing
people can’t take away from you is your education. And it is worth
the investment. So stay focused. School and music and the
arts is the only thing that matters. Not what kind of clothes you
wear, what kind of swag you got — even though these
guys have a lot of swag, I will say that. So that just shows you can
be smart and talented and have a whole lot of swag
to go along with it. Thank you all. This was a wonderful last
— so many lasts that we’re having — but this
was one of the best. And again, I want to thank
you all for the work that you do, for the love that
you show our kids, for the faith that you
have in our nation. And I invite you all to
stay for a reception. Is that right? We are having a reception? I don’t want to invite you
to something that we’re not having. (laughter) I never know what’s going on
in this house, but, there is a reception. So feel free to stay. You guys get to eat, okay? There’s food, right? You can eat. Stay and enjoy yourselves. Thank you guys to
all our young people. Way to go. (applause) This has been a blast. We’re going to find ways to
keep doing this long after we leave the White House. You all, thank you so much. Have a great day. (applause)

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