Michelle Obama, the former First Lady of the United States, held a speech at an education event for the sophomore students at Bell Multicultural High School on Columbia Heights Education Campus in Washington.
The intention with the speech was to make the young students aware of the “North Star goal”, which her husband, the former President of the United States, set as a goal as one of the very first things when he came to office.
Furthermore, Michelle Obama wanted to give the sophomores motivation for making something out of themselves – “... the person with the biggest impact on your education is you. It’s that simple. It is you, the student.”
To persuade the students regarding her points in the speech, she used mainly pathos as well as a bit of ethos. For instances she did mention Barack and his time in the office, which indirectly gave her a high authority. However, pathos was the dominant form of appeal in the speech.
Michelle Obama used her own story as a great example about becoming something exceptional by just setting high sight and aiming for a goal. “Instead, it was going to be up to me to reach my goal.
I would have to chart my own course.”3 This shows that she tried to display her own personal life experience and made the young students compare themselves to her. Michelle Obama spoke to the sophomores as if they were equals and this may have given the students a feeling as if they were in the same boat and the feeling of identification.
It is also noticeable that Michelle Obama throughout the speech used a vocabulary that was very close to everyday speech.
The outcome of that may have been that the students understood and got each thing that was mentioned in the speech. “So, I had to start all over again, developing and executing a plan that would lead me to my goal. And of course, I struggled a little bit.” This made Michelle Obama seem less superior and made the points in the speech even more relatable.