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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, May 9, 2010

First lady gives graduates a pep talk

Advertiser Staff

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Michelle Obama

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Robbie Knievel

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Michelle Obama told graduates yesterday to prepare to overcome adversity, building on Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1958 commencement address at the same university, when he told students to summon their courage to fight segregation.

The first lady gave a speech to 270 graduates of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff that referred to the legacy of their historically black school, which opened in 1873 with seven students, most of whom could barely read.

Obama said those first students, only a decade removed from slavery, had no guarantee of opportunity once they graduated.

"Let's just imagine how those seven students would feel if they could see you here today," Obama told a packed downtown arena.

KNIEVEL FOLLOWING IN FATHER'S TIRE TRACKS

A spokesman for Robbie Knievel says the motorcycle jumper wants to follow in his daredevil father's footsteps and attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon in southern Idaho.

Jeff Lowe says Knievel will be in Twin Falls tomorrow to discuss the plan with local officials, and that the jump is tentatively set for the Fourth of July weekend in 2011, almost 40 years after his father's try.

Evel Knievel, who died in 2007, failed to clear the chasm in 1974 in a rocket-powered "Skycycle" when the parachute malfunctioned and deployed after takeoff.

BOOSTING TEACHER PAY CRUCIAL, STING SAYS

School teacher-turned-rock star Sting says teacher salaries must be raised to attract society's best minds into classrooms.

Sting spoke to reporters yesterday in Mexico City before a $550-a-ticket concert. The show is part of a fundraising "Learning for Life" tour that supports education in developing countries.

Sting, the former leader of the British band The Police, said: "One of the most important jobs in the planet is to teach children. Our entire future depends on children being educated."

REDGRAVE BURIED IN UPSTATE NEW YORK

Friends and family said final goodbyes to Lynn Redgrave yesterday and laid the 67-year-old actress to rest near her mother amid the rolling hills of upstate New York.

The star of "Georgy Girl" died May 2 at her home in Kent, Conn.. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002.

Her older sister, Vanessa Redgrave, was among those attending a private funeral in Connecticut yesterday, along with niece Joely Richardson, and Liam Neeson, widower of her niece Natasha Richardson.

ITALIAN OFFICIAL NOT AMUSED BY FILM SPOOF

Italy's culture minister said he will boycott this month's Cannes film festival to protest the showing of a movie that spoofs Premier Silvio Berlusconi and his relief efforts for earthquake survivors.

"Draquila" features popular satirist Sabina Guzzanti, a woman who impersonates Berlusconi in the film.

The government's efforts to construct housing for thousands of quake homeless in the city of L'Aquila is a point of pride for Berlusconi.

Culture Minister Sandro Bondi said yesterday in a statement he won't go because the film, which will be screened out of competition, offends the Italian people.

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