Straight Talk

Michelle Obama talks to Houston kids on Google — and delivers some pointed advice

Michelle Obama talks to kids on Google — and delivers pointed advice

Breakthrough Houston Michelle Obama Google Hangout
Victoria Justice, at right, joined students in a web conversation with First Lady Michelle Obama. Courtesy of Breakthrough Houston
Breakthrough Houston Michelle Obama Google Hangout
Twenty students convened at St. John's Chao Center to discuss education issues with Michelle Obama. Courtesy of Breakthrough Houston
Breakthrough Houston Michelle Obama Google Hangout
Students posed numerous questions to Mrs. Obama, including personal ones about her approaches to education. Courtesy of Breakthrough Houston
Breakthrough Houston Michelle Obama Google Hangout
Courtesy of Breakthrough Houston
Breakthrough Houston Michelle Obama Google Hangout
Breakthrough Houston Michelle Obama Google Hangout
Breakthrough Houston Michelle Obama Google Hangout
Breakthrough Houston Michelle Obama Google Hangout

It wasn’t a typical weekend morning for a group of young women from Breakthrough Houston, St. John’s School and the United Nations Foundation campaign, Girl Up.

This past Saturday at 8:30 a.m., 20 teen ambassadors gathered at St. John’s to participate in a live webchat with First Lady Michelle Obama about the importance of quality education and global citizenship.

Michelle Obama, who is accompanying the president on his tri-country African tour, spoke with the students via Google+ Hangout from Johannesburg. In addition to the Houston cadre, students from South Africa, Kansas City, Los Angeles and New York partook in the dialogue.

 “The best advice she gave was that once you learn something you shouldn’t keep it to yourself." 

“The best advice she gave was that once you learn something you shouldn’t keep it to yourself," recalls Breakthrough Houston student Samantha Santana of the First Lady's wisdom. "Share your knowledge so that the learning continues."

Participant JaDa Johnson urges the White House to sponsor future web-based discussions with young people. “The value of this event was huge," the ninth grade student says. "Being able to have a virtual conversation with the First Lady on the other side of the world meant so much to me and I’m sure to so many others.”

Houston students were joined by actress, singer, and Nickelodeon alum Victoria Justice, while Grammy-winner and education activist John Legend participated in the exchange from LA.

“We can talk about justice, and we can talk about equality, but if we are not making sure our kids get a great education, then that promise of equality, that promise of opportunity, cannot be completely fulfilled,” Legend noted during the event.

Michelle Obama hosted her first electronic fireside chat in July 2010 on childhood obesity, with subsequent webinars focusing largely on nutrition as part of her Let’s Move! initiative. Meanwhile, the White House continues to host its own web-based town halls on a range of issues, which have spanned gun control to immigration reform in 2013.