Michelle Obama urges UK schoolgirls to dream big

Wed May 25, 2011 1:04pm EDT
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By Nia Williams

OXFORD, England (Reuters) - First Lady Michelle Obama combined a message of hard work with hugs on Wednesday as she drew on her own family life to inspire a group of London schoolgirls on a visit to Oxford University.

In the ancient vaulted hall of Christ Church college, Oxford, also known as Hogwarts dining hall in the Harry Potter film franchise, Obama created some magic of her own for the rapt youngsters.

"She's amazing," one schoolgirl whispered excitedly on her way out, after Obama rounded off a speech and question and answer session with a hug for each of the 40 or so pupils visiting Oxford from London's Elizabeth Garrett Anderson school.

The EGA is the school Obama visited in 2009 on her first official visit to Britain.

The ethnically diverse school is in one of the most deprived areas of north London and has 59 languages spoken among its 900 female pupils.

The first lady, dressed in a white collarless blouse, thick white leather belt with gold buckles and black trousers, urged the girls who were on an open day visit to the world-famous institution to believe they could do anything if they were prepared to work hard enough.

"You should be pushing yourself to dream big because if you can see yourself in Oxford you can see yourself anywhere," she said.

Michelle Obama grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood in Chicago and went to a state school before winning scholarships to Princeton and Harvard law school.   Continued...

<p>First Lady Michelle Obama poses for a photograph with students from the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School at Oxford University in Oxford, southern England May 25, 2011. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett</p>