First Lady Michelle Obama’s Welcome Remarks at Gala Dinner


“Good evening, everyone and welcome to Urban Squash’s 20th Anniversary Celebration. For twenty years, you all have been helping so many young people across this country get active and build the bright futures they deserve. And I saw the power of your work back in 2012 when I visited the SquashSmarts program in North Philadelphia. I saw the passion and drive of those students, and I saw the enthusiasm and commitment of the volunteers. So I wasn’t surprised to learn that 97% of urban squash graduates continue their education after high school. Because I know that doesn’t just happen by accident. It happens because of the inspiration and support that you provide. And it happens because of the hard work of the students and alumni in this program, many of whom are here tonight.

I know these young people are doing everything they can to get a good education and build lives and careers worthy of their promise. And that’s really the core message of my Reach Higher initiative. I want to urge young people to believe in themselves and get the education they need to fulfill their boundless potential. And I really can’t think of a better set of role models for this effort than all of you.

My husband and I are so proud of you, and we’re so grateful for the outstanding work of the urban squash movement and NUSEA. We can’t wait to see all that you continue to achieve in the years ahead, and we wish the best of luck to all of the urban squashers in New York this weekend competing in the Urban Team Nationals. Thanks so much. And happy 20th anniversary.”