A News story by Ellena Schuster-Farrell 14 December 2018

On Monday 3 December, 13 lucky students from City Heights E-ACT Academy attended ‘Becoming: An Evening with Michelle Obama’ at the Southbank Centre.

The former First Lady took to the stage for a conversation with acclaimed novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, reflecting on her memoir ‘Becoming’ and talking about the experiences that have shaped her life.

Although the talk had sold out in minutes, librarian Ingrid Edwards managed to snap up tickets through entering a ballot especially for schools. The group from City Heights could not believe their luck when they found out that they were one of just ten schools invited to attend.

Here, City Heights students Yuri and Sadie tell us how it felt to attend this special event…

Yuri, Year 9

Getting to go to Michelle Obama’s talk was an amazing experience. It was a special moment for me because I’m American – my parents are both American and I was born there.

During her talk, she told us about her new book and experiences from her life. She also talked about Barack Obama and how he became president. It was interesting to learn more about Barack Obama because he was such a strong and powerful person at the time, and it was good to hear about how kind and helpful he was to people.

My favourite story that Michelle told was how she had grown up wanting a house with an upstairs and a garden. It amazed me because she wanted that, she worked for it and she got it.

When I grow up, I want to have a job that lets me help people. I’d like to work for a charity that helps homeless people to start a new life. Michelle’s talk showed me that I can be a better person – I can be stronger and more helpful to other people.

I like how she followed her heart and her heart told her what to do. I’ve looked up to Michelle and Barack Obama for a really long time. I’ve always wanted to meet them, and getting to see Michelle in person, in real life, and not on television was so amazing.

Sadie, Year 11

I was really excited to go and listen to Michelle Obama speak. Hearing about her childhood and the events that have made her the person that she is today was inspiring. She came across as a really humble person, and she talked about the fact that her childhood was difficult. It made me realise that you don’t have to have an extra special childhood to become an extra special person: you can come from anywhere and still do great things. I think people from our academy could really relate to her.

I’d love to grow up to be an inspiration to others. I used to want to be an author, and seeing how Michelle was able to compile information from her life into a book made me start thinking about that again. Hearing her talk has made me want to write: I like how she tells her story in a humorous way, but also uses devices like metaphor.

After hearing about her life and the sorts of things she does, she’s definitely become one of my role models. I found the event inspiring and beneficial to me, and it was good to be able to relay what I’ve learned to people that I know. I’ve been telling everyone about Michelle’s talk – from my friends at the academy to my family at home!