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Tuesday, October 21, 2014 | Last updated: 3:22am

First lady visits Tucson, praises students for healthy initiatives



First lady Michelle Obama came to Tucson Monday to meet with local students as part of her effort to promote healthy lifestyles.

Obama spoke with elementary school, middle school and college students who volunteer at Tucson Village Farm, as well as some members of 4-H, a youth organization administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. According to the volunteers, she asked what they did on the farm, what vegetables they liked and what they wanted to be when they grew up.

Haile Thomas, a local fifth-grader and founder of the Healthy Girl Adventures Club and Youth Advisory Board member for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, was one of the first few to shake hands with Obama.

“It was amazing,” Thomas said. “I mean, she’s such a kind person and she’s very inspiring, and to meet such a phenomenal person, in person, is actually really fantastic.”

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By Will Ferguson / Daily Wildcat
Will Ferguson / Arizona Daily Wildcat First lady Michelle Obama arrived at the Tucson International Airport on Monday, where she was greeted by youth volunteers of Tucson Village Farm, a University of Arizona run urban farm that teaches youth how to grow their own food and make healthy life choices. She was also greeted by Haile Thomas, 11, who promotes healthier lifestyles as founder of the Healthy Girls Adventures club and Youth Advisory member for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

Some of the UA students involved with the farm also expressed their excitement about meeting Obama.

“It was a privilege to meet one of the top public health advocates who’s looking out for our children’s wellness,” said Mathias Pollock, a public health graduate student and an educational specialist with the farm. “Being in that field myself, it was really an inspiration that she took the time to talk to these kids.”

Although Obama only stayed for a short amount of time, she spoke with each student individually and gave each of the volunteers a hug. Some of the student volunteers were excited to have the chance to meet the first lady.

“I was very excited,” said Morgan Knox, a 12-year-old involved with 4-H. “I have never met someone that special or that close and it was just really great.”

Other attendees also mentioned what impact they hoped this visit would have on the health initiative.

“I hope her visit brings positive publicity to Tucson Village Farm and also to all the other wellness workers who are trying to improve the health of our nation’s youth,” Pollock said.


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