Michelle Obama’s High School Alma Mater Names its New Athletic Complex in Her Honor


March 12, 2019



Photo: Ashlee Rezin

Michelle Obama may have not played sports when she attended Whitney Young Magnet High School, but she went on to use her platform as the first African American First Lady to create the “Let’s Move” campaign to reduce childhood obesity and increase physical activity. Now, her alma mater will be naming its new athletic center in her honor. 

“She understands the importance of exercise,” school principal Joyce Kenner told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s all about keeping students fit. She embodies that spirit of athleticism.”


Photo: E. Jason Wambsgans

Mrs. Obama learned of the news back in November, when she returned to her old Chicago stomping grounds to visit students and share copies of her memoir “Becoming.” 

“She just had the biggest smile on her face, I think she was just shocked that we had even thought of her,” Kenner said of Obama’s reaction to the news. “Honestly, getting an opportunity to be in her presence twice… I didn’t realize how humble she really is.”


Funded by tax increment financing, the $4.3 million facility will include artificial turf, two scoreboards, as well as a running track and a field that can be used to play baseball, softball, lacrosse, soccer and football. It will also be open to the community. 

“Our kids have been running on the concrete for 44 years,” Kenner said. “Now they will have a track in which they can practice their running, their hurdling, and have contests on the field.”

After 10 years in the making, the school’s complex is set to be completed in May. 


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