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First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks at the National PTA Conference

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First Lady Michelle Obama speaks about her Lets Move campaign during a meeting of the National PTA in Arlington, Va., Wednesday, March 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Today First Lady Michelle Obama addressed the National Legislative Conference of the Parent Teacher Association on her Let’s Move! initiative~~a movement pertinent to the National PTA’s efforts toward fighting childhood obesity and promoting healthy lifestyles.

The three-day conference is designed to motivate ‘grasstop’ leaders from across the country and provide an in-depth look at the latest PTA Public Policy Agenda through a series of workshops, skill building trainings, panel discussions, and guest speakers.

Remarks by The First Lady at the National PTA Conference

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First Lady Launches Contest for Healthy Kids Games

Apps for Healthy KidsAP~First lady Michelle Obama challenged software and video game designers Wednesday to develop games and tools that get kids, especially 9- to 12-year-olds, excited about eating better and exercising more.

The carrot? A chance to share in $40,000 in cash prizes.

The Apps for Healthy Kids contest is part of Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign to raise public awareness about the national problem of childhood obesity. One in three U.S. children is overweight or obese, putting them at higher risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure or other medical conditions.

Mrs. Obama said kids spend an average of seven and a half hours a day watching TV or playing with computers, video games or other devices.

Maybe you’ve seen those dance video games or those exercise games that families are playing together at home, or the ones that kids play using their mobile phones and home computers?” she said at the national Parent Teacher Association conference. “Those are the kinds of games that we’re talking about.”

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The Apps for Healthy Kids Challenge is a contest with the USDA to challenge professional and amateur developers to come up with games that incorporate nutritional information and promote healthy living. From dance video games to nutrition mobile applications, they’re challenging designers to come up with the next big idea to make healthy living fun. The App Challenge is just one of the innovative ways that the First Lady is working to help kids lead active, healthy lives and end childhood obesity within a generation, as part of the nationwide Let’s Move! campaign.

Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our brand new section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama

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President Obama Announces Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge

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The White House and the Department of Education have announced a new Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge and are inviting public schools across the country to compete to have President Obama speak at their graduation. At the beginning of the school year, the President encouraged students across the country to take responsibility for their education, study hard and graduate from high school. The Race to the Top High School Commencement challenge encourages schools to show how they are making great strides on personal responsibility, academic excellence and college readiness.

Applications must be completed by students and submitted by a high school’s Principal using the Commencement Challenge Application Form no later than Monday, March 15th at 11:59 pm EST. Each school may submit only one application and high schools must be public to apply. Following the application deadline, six finalists will be selected by the White House and Department of Education. These schools will then be featured on the White House website and the public will have an opportunity to vote for the three schools they think best meet the President’s goal. The President will select a national winner from these three finalists and visit the winning high school to deliver the commencement address to the class of 2010.

The application’s four essay questions focus on demonstrating how the school is helping prepare students to meet the President’s 2020 goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. Applications will be judged based on the school’s performance and dedication to providing students an excellent education that will prepare them to graduate ready for college and career choices. Each question must be answered in full to qualify and data that substantiates each answer is strongly encouraged.

In addition to the required essay responses, applicants are invited to submit the following optional supplemental materials:

  • A video — no more than 2 minutes in length — showing the school’s culture and character and highlighting how it is a model of educational success for other high schools around the country.
  • Supplemental data on key indicators such as attendance, student achievement, graduation rates and where available, college enrollment rates. This data may be presented in the form of tables, graphs or spreadsheets and should be used to help the school make the most compelling arguments possible.

Please use the Commencement Challenge Application Form to apply.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Meets With 11 Black History Month Essay Winners from England

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First Lady Michelle Obama talks with students from London February 18, 2010 at the White House in Washington, DC. Students from schools in the borough of Islington were rewarded with a trip to the United States sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in London. In April 2009, Mrs. Obama visited the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in Islington. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

AP~First Lady Michelle Obama has given a pep talk to visiting students from England, saying they have shown they aren’t afraid of hard work that will take them somewhere in life.

Mrs. Obama met with the group of 11 students at the White House on Thursday. They are from schools across the London borough of Islington and were rewarded with the trip to the U.S. for winning a Black History Month essay competition.

She urged them to make the most of this time. She called it “practice for the rest of your life.”

First Lady Michelle Obama hugs Sahar Abdulrahman as she greets students

One girl is a student at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in Islington. Mrs. Obama spoke at the school during a visit to London last.

From the pool report: First Lady Michelle Obama hosted 11 school students – six girls, five boys – from schools across the London borough of Islington, in the Old Family Dining Room on Thursday morning.

The kids won an Islington Black History Month essay competition and were rewarded with the trip, sponsored by the US Embassy in London.

They sat around an oval-shaped wooden table, decorated with two glass bowls of shiny apples), nervously waiting for Flotus to arrive. Four teachers/adults sat on the side and one asked your pool to desist from asking questions, saying the kids were very excited and wanted to compose themselves.

Flotus entered at 11:03 and said “Hi everybody!” Then proceeded to go around the table and hug all the kids. How are you all doing? “Tell me about your trip. When did you get here?” she asked as she sat at the table.

She welcomed the kids and told them about the room they were in, saying the president hosted the king of Spain here the previous day. Oohs and aahs.

Flotus visited the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in Islington in April 2009. One of the girls visiting today – Nanah Davies – is from that school and Flotus patted her on the back as she described that that visit was one of the highlights of her first year.

We’re living in a wonderful time where if you work hard… The opportunities are endless. That was true for me. Never did I realize that everything I did before would prepare me for being First Lady, but it did,” she said, stressing the importance of working hard at school.

Said that you don’t just wake up and be someone, says you have to work to become someone. Said her husband didn’t just wake up one day as president.

You’re going to trip and fall and slip along the way – he (the president) certainly did, I slipped a little less – don’t be afraid to be wrong, to get a few things wrong, but you’re learning, it’s all practice.”

Flotus encouraged them all to help other people, act as mentors.

Curtly Meijas talked about his essay, about his grandmother who emigrated from Trinidad to the UK.

The students were going on a tour of the White House afterwards.

The students attending were:

  • Abdul Hakim Abdullahi
  • Malcolm Atrobah
  • Degol Tesfai
  • Curtly Mejias
  • Care Ceven
  • Shenece Liburd
  • Ann Kirabo
  • Layla Mohamud
  • Sahar Adbulrahman
  • Nanah Colly Davies
  • Boji Alexandre Weirsangera

Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our brand new section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama

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Academy Launches College Oscar® Watch Party Contest on Campuses Nationwide

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today the launch of its first College Oscar Watch Party Contest on campuses nationwide. Participation is open to undergraduates from any college or university in the United States that offers a B.A., B.S. or equivalent degree.

Individual party organizers or groups of up to four organizers who register with the Academy will be responsible for organizing their respective parties and submitting recap materials after the event. A registration form is available for download at www.oscars.org. The deadline for registration is Friday, February 19, 2010.

Entrants will post up to 10 photos of their Oscar watch party on http://www.flickr.com and up to five minutes of video footage on http://www.YouTube.com, and submit URLs and a description of no more than 500 words to marketing@oscars.org. The Academy will select the best Oscar watch party based on the following criteria: enthusiasm (i.e., number of attendees, how the event was publicized); creativity (i.e., themes, decorations, food); and guest involvement (i.e., games, activities). The deadline to submit post-event materials is Monday, March 15, 2010.

The organizers of the grand prize-winning party, to be revealed later in the month, will each receive two red carpet bleacher seats at the 83rd Academy Awards® in 2011. Photos and/or video of the winning party will be posted on the Academy’s Facebook page. Organizers of two runner-up parties will also receive acknowledgment on the site, as well as official Oscar prize packages.

For a complete list of rules and regulations for the College Oscar Watch Party Contest, please visit www.oscars.org/watchpartycontest.

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10 Semi-Finalists Named in Academy/MTVU “Oscar® Correspondent Contest

Posted by: Audiegrl

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and mtvU, MTV’s 24-hour college network, announced ten teams of college journalists as semifinalists in the 2010 Oscar Correspondent Contest, each vying for a coveted position on the red carpet at the 82nd Academy Awards in Hollywood. Video entries from the semifinalist teams are posted online at www.oscars.mtvU.com, where students and other viewers can vote for their favorite college journalists until February 10 at 2 p.m. PT.

The semifinalists are (listed in alphabetical order by university):

Chapman University, Orange, CA – Rachel Berry (anchor) and Christian Hartnett (videographer)
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Emerson College, Boston, MA – Terry Stackhouse (anchor) and Zach Cusson (videographer)
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Emerson College – Dean Dimitruk (anchor) and Tyler Weinberger (videographer)
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Florida A&M University, Tallahassee – Brandon McCaskill (anchor) and Kiarra Hart (videographer)
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Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro – Nicki DeCroce (anchor) and Tony Holt (videographer)
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Rider University, Lawrenceville, NJ – Kelly Dixon (anchor) and Gina Grosso (videographer)
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Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY – Eeshé White (anchor) and Patrick House (videographer)
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Texas State University-San Marcos – Amanda Dugan (anchor) and Colby Howell (videographer)
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University of South Dakota, Vermillion – Angie Lacompte (anchor) and Travis Berg (videographer)
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University of Texas at Austin – Loren Grush (anchor) and Xorje Olivares (videographer)
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On February 12, the three teams with the most online votes, and as agreed upon by the Academy and mtvU, will advance to the final round of competition. From February 16 to March 2, fans can continue to cast their votes for the teams of finalists as they compete for grand prize. All three teams will be flown to Los Angeles to cover Academy Awards pre-events, including the Animated Feature Symposium, Foreign Language Film Award media op, the Makeup Artist and Hairstylist Symposium and the Governors Ball preview.


The grand prize-winning team will be revealed on Saturday, March 6, at an Academy press conference. The anchor and videographer will be awarded a spot on the red carpet for the 82nd Academy Awards arrivals, as well as credentials for access to backstage press rooms. The winning team’s coverage will be aired on MTV News and mtvU. The two finalist teams will receive bleacher seats along the red carpet and admission to an Oscar viewing party.

The ten semifinalist teams were selected by the Academy and mtvU from videos submitted for the competition. The entries were judged based on criteria including originality, creativity, and how compelling the video was overall. The competition was open to teams of two college students, one anchor and one videographer, residing in the United States.

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For a complete list of rules and regulations for the Oscar Correspondent Contest, visit www.oscars.mtvu.com

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First Lady Michelle Obama and First Daughters Kick Off Christmas at White House

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Receives 18½-foot Douglas fir tree from West Virginia


First lady Michelle Obama, with her daughters Sasha and Malia, as they stand with the White House Christmas tree as it is delivered to the North Portico of the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 27, 2009.

First lady Michelle Obama, with her daughters Sasha and Malia, as they stand with the White House Christmas tree as it is delivered to the North Portico of the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 27, 2009.

AP/—The White House is open for Christmas.

A day after celebrating Thanksgiving, first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha received the official White House Christmas tree: an 18½-foot Douglas fir delivered from a farm in Shepherdstown, W.Va., by traditional horse-drawn carriage.

Growers Eric and Gloria Sundback officially presented the tree to the Obamas on Friday.

It’s the fourth time one of their trees has become the official White House tree.

Malia, Michelle, and Sasha Obama welcome Mark Steelhammer, left, and Eric and Gloria Sundback to the White House.

Malia, Michelle, and Sasha Obama welcome Mark Steelhammer, left, and Eric and Gloria Sundback to the White House.

It’s big enough for Sasha to climb in, I think,” Sundback joked after the Obamas walked from the North Portico of the White House to the driveway where the tree was tied up and lying in the carriage, pulled up the driveway from Pennsylvania Avenue by a pair of Belgian draft horses with red Christmas bows tied to their tails. A sign affixed to the side of the carriage said “White House Christmas Tree 2009.

We’re excited,” Mrs. Obama told the Sundbacks.

Asked by reporters whether the tree was the biggest she ever had, the first lady said: “Yeah, I think this wins.”

The 12-foot-wide tree is destined for the oval-shaped Blue Room on the State Floor of the White House, where scores of volunteers will decorate it. The tree is the star attraction of Christmas at the White House, and will be oohed and aahed over by the thousands of people who will stream through in December for holiday parties and public tours of the executive mansion.

The tree, which the Sundbacks planted in 1996, was hand-picked on Oct. 20 on a visit to the Sundback’s farm by retired Rear Adm. Stephen Rochon, the White House chief usher, and Dale Haney, superintendent of the White House grounds.

It was cut down on Wednesday. Besides the official tree, more than a dozen smaller trees from the Sundback farm will decorate other rooms in the White House, including the Oval Office.

The Sundbacks, both in their 80s, earned the honor by winning the National Christmas Tree Association’s national contest this year for the fourth time. A tree from the winner’s farm is then chosen as the official White House tree, an annual tradition that dates to 1966.

Their trees were displayed twice when Ronald Reagan held office and once under Jimmy Carter.

The Sundbacks have grown Christmas trees since 1956 and were thrilled by the opportunity to meet their fourth first lady.

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Video Replay Pending: The First Lady Previews the Holidays at the White House

December 02, 2009 12:00 PM EST

The First Lady Receives the White House Christmas Tree

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Randall Terry Urges “Burn In Hell Protests”, Calls for Burning Pelosi and Reid in Effigy on Halloween

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RANDALL-large

Randall Terry


AP/Ann Sanner—Anti-abortion activist Randall Terry is calling on people to burn effigies of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this Halloween, as part of a “Burn in Hell” video contest to protest the health care legislation in Congress.

Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, said Tuesday that the contest serves as a political and spiritual statement that “gives people a chance to peacefully vent their rage.”

If Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid force us to pay for child killing and they die unrepentant, they will burn in hell for this,” Terry said in a telephone interview.

A YouTube video of the contest instructions shows how to print a poster of Reid and Pelosi and construct a stand for it. The clip shows a person dousing the Democratic leaders’ images with flammable liquid. The next scene shows their picture going up in flames. People are then encouraged to take pictures, record and submit online the footage of their Oct. 31 protests.

No, this is not a threat to their body,” an unidentified man says in the instructional video, “but it is a threat to their soul.”

Terry insisted the contest was not a threat to Reid or Pelosi. He contended that the Democrats’ plan to overhaul health care would allow federal funding of abortion.

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Operation Rescue Halloween: Nancy Pelosi Burn in Hell Contest

pelosi-reidsmiling

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Colorado Independent/John TomasicRandall Terry, the founder of fanatical anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, is sending around an email to supporters asking them to burn Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in effigy as part of a national Halloween protest and video contest. The email and video rallying supporters is characterized by an ironic tone that serves only to heighten the threatening factor that has come to characterize the organization and its actions.

Of the many notable features of the Operation Rescue call-out is the explicit references it makes to major mainstream U.S. corporations FedEx Kinkos, Home Depot and Wal-Mart. The references have the feel of embedded advertising. Do the companies know Operation Rescue is sending them their “Nancy Pelosi Burn in Hell” business? Do they want that business?

FedEx spokesperson Jenny Robertson told the Colorado Independent that the company had no part in the video.

Fed Ex is in no way affiliated with [the Terry project] and did not provide permission to film the video in one of our centers. They probably took that video in the store very quickly and there was no time to stop it“.

And an ironical disclaimer on the video:

Legal Mumbo Jumbo: Obey local laws on open flames; be careful; if under 18, do not burn Nancy Pelosi in effigy unless your mom or dad is with you, and gives you permission, and strikes the match; do not burn yourself; do not burn another human being; do not burn small animals; do not burn large animals; do not burn anyone from PETA; and remember: this is not a threat to Nancy Pelosi’s or Harry Reid’s person…it is a prophetic witness of what awaits them when they die if they do not repent for this horrific sin.

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