Mrs Obama said she was “moved, touched and inspired” by London schoolgirls as she returned to a secondary school in the capital which she first visited not long after entering the White House. Mrs Obama paid another visit to Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School (EGA) as part of her book tour for her autobiography Becoming. She first met pupils from the school during a G20 summit nine years ago, when she had only been first lady for a few months, and later hosted a dozen pupils at the White House.
Mrs Obama was reunited with some of the youngsters she first met in 2009, who are now alumni of the school, as well as pupils from nearby Mulberry School, which she visited in 2015.
Appearing on stage in front of a packed hall, she said: “On a personal level I was moved and touched and inspired, as I always am by the young people I meet around the world.
“And as I said then, you remind me of me and all the fears and all the challenges that you face.
“You gave me a sense of comfort because being first lady wasn’t the easiest job in the world but I got strength from you, so thank you all for that, thanks for giving me that.”
Joined on stage by former EGA pupils Winnie Mac and Letrishka Anthony, and Nusrath Hassan, a former pupil of Mulberry School, Mrs Obama added that one of her biggest points of pride from her time as first lady was “raising my daughters and having them turn out sane, because it wasn’t a guarantee”.
She said: “We put them in a tough situation. They grew up with a harsh light of international judgment on them as they were your age.”
Ms Anthony, who was 16 when Mrs Obama first visited EGA, said it was “amazing” to meet the former first lady again. Now 25, the senior analyst at a business intelligence company added: “She really talks about things that we can relate to.
“She even spoke about doubt and how sometimes she also doubts herself and those are things that we can all relate to, no matter how accomplished we are.”
Asked if she still believes in her motto “When they go low, we go high”, Mrs Obama said: “What choice do we have?”