“I know the struggles many of you face, how you walk the long way home to avoid the gangs; how you fight to concentrate on your schoolwork when there’s too much noise at home; how you keep it together when your family’s having a hard time making ends meet. But more importantly, I know the strength of this community.”
Obama grew up near the school, and during her emotional commencement address, she said she wanted to share “the real story” about the South Side, a story about resilience and courage in the face of adversity.
She also honored Hadiya Pendleton, a student of King College Prep who was shot dead two years ago at the age of 15.
“I know that many of you have already dealt with some serious losses in your lives,” Obama told the students. “Maybe you’ve lost someone you love, someone you desperately wish could be here with you tonight. And I know that many of you are thinking about Hadiya right now and feeling the hole that she’s left in your hearts.”