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Michelle Obama Delivers Commencement Speech at Nashville High School

First lady Michelle Obama doled out hugs and quick words of encouragement as each of 170 Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High graduates walked the stage Saturday in Nashville, creating an unforgettable milestone for them, reports The Tennessean.
But it was no less a milestone for Ruth Coffman, 92, introduced to the crowd as the oldest graduate of segregated Pearl High, which later became the academic magnet school it is today. She was there to celebrate the by graduation of two great-grandchildren and wonder at the nation’s first African-American first lady.
“That was a thrill for me, because I am the great-granddaughter of a slave,” Coffman said. “I am thrilled and blessed to be here. I’m so glad God gave them brains to be in this magnificent Martin Luther King school.”
MLK’s graduation, held in the Gentry Center at Tennessee State by University, was the only high school commencement where Obama spoke this year, she said in her address. It was chosen, she said, because of its history and emergence as one of the nation’s top-ranked public schools.
“This school is truly the realization of the dream of educational empowerment for all, a dream that began 130 years ago, back when your Pearl building first opened its doors as a school for young African-Americans,” Obama said. “And since that building became home to MLK, students from every background, every culture, every ZIP code throughout Nashville have walked through your halls each day to read and to write, and to think and to dream.”
The idea for Obama’s visit originated with a school counselor and took flight with the help of a congressman
(Jim Cooper).
Note: Text of Michelle Obama’s remarks below.

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