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Michelle Obama surprises students during Phoenix book tour stop

By Tiffany Boyd Muhammad | Last updated: Mar 5, 2019 - 9:40:10 PM

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A small group of students from the Gila River Indian Reservation in Arizona were stunned when Michelle Obama joined their meeting. Photos: Tiffany Boyd Muhammad

PHOENIX—A small group of students were invited to a roundtable talk focused on education and leadership at the Huhugam Heritage Centre on the Gila River Indian Reservation in Arizona. The students represented several districts from the Gila River Indian Reservation. Their host, Governor Stephen Roe Lewis told the students that a congressman would join their meeting. The students were totally stunned when former first lady Michelle Obama casually walked in the room, sat between them and asked, “what’s happening!?”

Daniel Lewis, an ASU sophomore student, said about the Feb. 12 event, “the entire experience was unreal. I am so inspired. Mrs. Obama’s told us that excellent work ethic is a key to overcome obstacles. After talking and hearing from Michelle Obama I feel like have a model to success.” The governor was very grateful and stated how helpful the talk was with the students. “Mrs. Obama kept it so real with the students. After the press was dismissed she became extremely personal with the students. She is amazing” stated Governor Lewis.

Michelle Obama
While in the White House Mrs. Obama started the Reach Higher foundation that works to build a college-going movement and inspire first generation and low income students to continue their education past high school and obtain a post secondary degree.

Later that evening, Mrs. Obama spoke to a sold-out crowd of 5,000 people at the Comerica Theatre in Phoenix. The formation of long lines along the downtown sidewalks were filled with ecstatic fans. There was an additional element of excitement with these fans because Mrs. Obama’s “Becoming” book tour had ended months ago. Phoenix was not one of the 10 cities chosen. However, back by popular demand, Mrs. Obama extended the tour. Phoenix was the highly anticipated first of 21 stops in the second phase of the highly successful book tour.

The opening of the show highlighted pivotal points of the former first lady’s life journey and the life journeys of others.  Five women took the stage exemplifying the personification of faith, courage, and strength. These women spoke briefly on their stories of crisis and their choices to be victorious over their trauma. The audience showed support for these women through thunderous applause after each touching  testimony.

Former President Barack Obama’s senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, brought a warm, personable perspective to the conversation as the moderator of the 90-minute show. The crowd gave Mrs. Obama a standing ovation as she came out looking statuesque and beautiful. Her usual modest but high fashion style was at the top of its game. Throughout their conversation, Ms. Jarrett asked Mrs. Obama a series of questions about her life that followed the general structure of her book.They began with her childhood and education at Princeton and Harvard. Then they moved on to meeting Mr. Obama, starting a family, and later on, his first presidential campaign and the White House years.