Michelle Obama's visit to a girls' school today in an East London neighborhood turned into a love fest when she was greeted with singing, poetry, and interpretative dance on her mission to promote education for girls. In return, the first lady spoke about the role education played in her rise from a tough, working-class environment, and the need for female students to fight discrimination and cut their own proud swath in the world. "The world needs more girls like you growing up to lead our parliaments and our boardrooms and our courtrooms and our universities," Obama said, visibly moved. The first lady brought her teenage daughters, Malia and Sasha, and her mother on the trip; they all had tea with Prince Harry at Kensington Palace before the school visit.
The purpose of the trip is to promote the first lady's "Let Girls Learn" initiative, which is now backed by the British government. Girls waved American flags and screamed with excitement as Obama arrived at the Mulberry School for Girls. Obama said there are more than 62 million girls with no chance to go to school—a basic right she said should be extended to every girl on the planet. She also told the students, many Muslims among them, that they may hear people make stereotyped comments about their religion, but that they can't afford to be discouraged. "You might wonder if people will ever look beyond your headscarf to see who you really are," she said. "But with your education from this amazing school you have everything you need to rise above it." (More Michelle Obama stories.)