First Lady Michelle Obama was visibly moved by students from the fifth annual class of the National Student Poets Program on Thursday as the five youngsters performed their original poetry to a crowd gathered in the State Dining Room at the White House.
Obama looked elegant in a black and white tea-length dress with a geometric cutout overlay as she listened from the audience and later presented each student with the nation’s highest honor for young poets.
“I’m going to cry,” FLOTUS said to the crowd listening to the poems. “If we ever wonder whether what we do makes a difference, it does. Thank you, everyone, for all of this, thank you guys, I’m so proud of you.”
“We all know that being a kid today can be a little hard. It can be tough, especially when you’re a teenager and you’re dealing with emotions and experiences that can be overwhelming, to say the least,” she went on to say. “It’s tempting at this age to just close down and shut out the rest of the world, especially when the world can feel so ugly at times. But for so many people, poetry can help them open up.”
With two daughters at home—Malia, 18, and Sasha, 15—Obama is no stranger to the struggles of modern day teenagers and knows all too well the role social media plays in their lives.
“We can fool ourselves into thinking that everybody is still watching the evening news, but I live with Generation Z, and I know that their habits, the way they take in information in, is so different. And they’ve changed …” she said in her interview with InStyle for her October cover story. “We’ve got to meet our constituents where they are, and they’re on Snapchat.”
Watch Michelle Obama honor five members from the 2016 National Student Poets Program in the video above. For more from the First Lady, pick up the October issue of InStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download Friday, Sept. 16.