Michelle Obama Inspires Educators in First Big Speech Since Leaving White House

Copyright (c) 2016 CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

"This is what back looks like."

Michelle Obama gave her first major speech since leaving the White House at the Kennedy Center for the School Counselor of the Year ceremony, a collaboration between the American School Counselor Association and part of her Reach Higher initiative for higher education.

The former first lady began her speech by declaring that she's officially "back," before graciously thanking the counselors and educators for  “transforming the lives of young people across the country," especially in today's climate. 

michelle_obama_gettyimages-913464036.jpg
Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

“Trust me, I know this work isn’t easy, especially right now,” she explained. “I know there’s a lot of anxiety out there. And there’s no denying our kids, what they see on TV, the kind of behavior being modeled in public life, that, yes, impacts their behavior and their character.”

“But at times like this, the work that you all are doing is even more urgent. Even more critically important. You all have the power to teach kids what it means to go high when others go low,” Obama continued, repeating her famous words from her 2016 speech at the Democratic National Convention -- and presenting the 2018 ASCA School Counselor of the Year award to Kirsten Perry.

Obama sat down for her first television interview since leaving the White House when she stopped by The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Thursday. See highlights from her interview in the video below. 

RELATED CONTENT: 

Michelle Obama Shares 'Best Friend' Barack's Sweet Birthday Gift -- See the Pic!

Michelle Obama Recalls Awkward Melania Trump Gift Exchange -- and How Barack Saved Her!

Michelle Obama Opens Up About Life After the White House

Copyright (c) 2016 CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.