First Lady Stops Inspires At-Risk Students At Landmark Site

By: Ariana Cohen

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)- Before the First Lady made her way to senior recognition night, she made a stop at a landmark spot.

Washburn Rural High School Sophomore Darrius Lindsay is a part of GearUp, funded by the U.S. Department of Education. It's the program that offers mentors and educational resources to at-risk college bound students.

Darrius he says he hopes to be a barber someday.

"I'm trying to be somebody in life you know because everybody needs their hair done," says Darrius.

First Lady Michelle Obama walked through the Brown vs. Board site's doors and surprised 11 GearUp students.

"I was really surprised! I wasn't sure if it was going to be today and I said 'oh my gosh! There's Mrs. Obama!' It's crazy!," says Chamari Roberson, Highland Park High School sophomore.

"I'm ecstatic!" says Darrius.

In honor of the 60 year anniversary of Brown vs. Board ruling, Mrs. Obama toured a restored kindergarten classroom inside Brown vs. Board to see what it would have looked like in the 1950's. Then, GearUp students asked the First Lady for some of her secrets of success.

"She said to never give up and anybody who tells you to can't do anything just basically don't listen to them because if you want to do something you love then continue to do it," says De'Le'Shonte Harden, Topeka student.

"She said don't ever let anybody tell you that you can't do something, and never give up and she was really inspiring and it was lovely to meet her. It's really exciting," said Vanessa Sastogue, Topeka student.

Darrius says the First Lady inspired them to follow his dreams and students say they will cherish her words for years to come.

"Yes, I will remember this forever," says Chamari.

"I asked her if I should be a barber and she said don't give up, you can be anybody you need to be. I'm going to be me and only me, " said Darrius.

Darrius says he looks forward to graduating high school and going to college and speaking to the First Lady is something that will always motivate him.

Source: WIBW-TV