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Michelle Obama’s graduation advice

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By Michelle Malkin  •  May 16, 2009 11:46 PM

The First Lady urged graduates of UC Merced “to give something back:”

First lady Michelle Obama praised graduating students at California’s smallest, youngest public university for their determination to succeed, urging them to give back to their communities with the same fervor they showed to bring her to campus.

In her debut as a commencement speaker on Saturday, Mrs. Obama evoked the struggles of California’s founders — settlers and former slaves, trailblazers and immigrants — to encourage the 493 members of the school’s senior class to use their newfound skills to lift up those around them.

“Many of you may be considering leaving town with your diploma in hand, and it wouldn’t be unreasonable,” Mrs. Obama said before a crowd of 12,000 wilting in the blazing afternoon sun. “By using what you’ve learned here you can shorten the path perhaps for kids who may not see a path at all. I was once one of those kids.”

Clothed in a long black robe and academic regalia, Mrs. Obama spoke of her own drive to get ahead despite the odds, recounting the challenges her working-class family faced on Chicago’s South Side.

“You will face tough times. You will certainly have doubts, and let me tell you because I know I did when I was your age,” she said. “Remember that you are blessed. Remember that in exchange for those blessings, you must give something back. You must reach back and pull someone up. You must bend down and let someone else stand on your shoulders so that they can see a brighter future.”

Give as she says, not as she gives, grads.

Flashback: Obamas Donated Less Than 1% of Their 2000-2004 Income

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and his wife Michelle gave $10,772 of the $1.2 million they earned from 2000 through 2004 to charities, or less than 1 percent, according to tax returns for those years released today by his campaign…The Obamas made their church, Trinity United Church of Christ, one of the biggest beneficiaries of their philanthropy, donating $27,500.

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