ANNANDALE, Va. (AP) - Michelle Obama urged high school students Thursday to be serious about getting an education and to remember that means more than just learning geometry or the finer points of history.
"Explore new classes. Audition for the school play. Write for the school paper. Take some risks. Try something new," she told students at Annandale High School. "And when you find something you like, then invest in it."
After all, just look at her husband. President Barack Obama worked hard and followed his passions to get where he is, the first lady said. "Push yourself and commit to your own success," she advised.
Her trip to an area of northern Virginia with a large Korean population was part of the pageantry surrounding Thursday's state visit by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and his wife, Kim Yoon-ok.
Mrs. Obama brought her counterpart along on the field trip. More than 10 percent of the high school's 2,500 students are of Korean descent, the White House said, and the student body speaks several dozen languages.
"It felt kind of new to us ... I feel like we really took it to heart," said student Sally Abilmona.
"What she said was very inspiring today," said Ashley Lok.
Seated in the gymnasium, the two first ladies soaked up performances by a children's choir, a trio of Ethiopian folk dancers, a harpist and drummer who performed a traditional Korean melody, and a musical selection by Korean-American violinist Jennifer Koh
In her remarks to the students, Kim wished them "a life that is full of dreams and passion."