First Lady Advises Kids To Have Pride and Grace
by sandy, Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 12:45:06 PM EST
A group of 180 Washington D.C. school children got a rare opportunity to learn about African American History yesterday when they were special guests of the White House as part of Black Heritage Month. The mostly 6th and 7th grade students were joined by Malia and Sasha Obama, the grandchildren of Admiral Rochon, and children of the White House staff.
The event was hosted by the First Lady, who, along with pointing out her husband as the first African American President, introduced the first African American White House Usher Admiral Stephen Rochon. He is an amazingly accomplished individual in his own right and told his inspiring story to the children before Mrs. Obama's arrival. He is no stranger to breaking racial barriers as he has been doing so since he became the first African American camp counselor in Mississippi in 1968. He then joined the Coast Guard and went on to become the first African American Captain of the Port of New Orleans and was awarded for his tremendous work during Katrina. He was previously the commander of the Maintenance and Logistics Command Atlantic, where he managed the Coast Guard's activities across 40 states.
Mrs. Obama asked the children to take notice of Admiral Rochon as a very wise man who, along with all the White House staff, "do their jobs with pride and grace. And that's one thing I hope that you all pick up, is the level of pride and grace that you put into anything you do."
She also spoke to the children about writing a chapter of history of their own and that they needed to begin asking themselves how they can prepare to become responsible citizens. She went on, "And think about, as the Admiral says, getting up every single day and working hard, as hard as you can; putting your best foot forward all the time, not just when somebody is looking, but every single moment; and supporting your family, the folks in your own households; making your beds, putting the dishes up, cleaning your rooms. That's part of the preparation. How do you help your neighbor? And how are you going to build a better life and a future for yourselves?
That's not just a story that Barack Obama is writing, or Admiral Rochon is writing. Those are the stories that we're all writing together. And you're an important part of that."
After her remarks, she introduced Sweet Honey in the Rock as "one of her favorite groups in the whole wide world". They were founded in 1973 in order to continue "the African American tradition of using music and song to advance freedom and social justice." They performed "This Little Light of Mine" which you can see at about 9 minutes on the video.
Video and Full Text here: