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In her final White House speech on Friday, an emotional Michelle Obama held back tears as she said that "being your first lady has been the greatest honor of my life and I hope I've made you proud."
Obama also delivered an uplifting message to the nation's youth as they move forward into the future.
"I want our young people to know that they matter, that they belong," she said. "So don't be afraid. You hear me, young people? Don't be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered.
"Empower yourself with a good education. Then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise. Lead by example with hope, never fear. And know that I will be with you, rooting for you and working to support you for the rest of my life."
Obama's remarks came at the end her speech at the 2017 School Counselor of the Year event on Friday as part of her "Reach Higher" program promoting education. It marked her last speech at the White House before the inauguration of Donald Trump as president in two weeks.
She was honoring a group of school counselors from every state who have made a difference in students' lives, including Terri Tchorzynski from Calhoun Area Center in Battle Creek, Michigan, who was named Counselor of the Year for the whole country.
"With a lot of hard work and a good education, anything is possible, even becoming president,'' she said. "That's what the American dream is all about."
Obama also emphasized the power of diversity to the future generations.
"That is not a threat to who we are - it makes us who we are,'' she said. "So the young people here and the young people out there, don't ever let anyone make you feel like you don't matter or like you don't have a place in our American story because you do, and you have a right to be exactly who you are."
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