Michelle Obama Marks International Women's Day with Surprise School Visit and Call to 'Embrace Immigrants'

Michelle Obama announced the visit on Snapchat, saying, "We're going to talk about education -- the importance of it in their lives and in mine"

Michelle Obama is still devoted to “letting girls learn.”

The former first lady marked International Women’s Day with a surprise visit to 12 female students at a combined middle and high school in Washington, D.C.

Obama had a roundtable talk with the girls at Francis L. Cardozo Education Campus, several of whom are from the school’s international program for recent immigrants, including some girls from Africa and Latin America.

She announced the visit on Snapchat Wednesday morning, saying: “We’re celebrating International Women’s Day with a group of amazing young women. We’re going to talk about education — the importance of it in their lives and in mine.”

Chuck Kennedy

Another snap showed the moment Obama walked into a classroom and surprised the stunned young women, who responded with a chorus of “Oh my Gods!”

“Did you know?” the former first lady said with a smile. “You didn’t know.”

“This school is amazing,” she added as she greeted the girls.

After a round of hugs, Obama and the young students sat down to talk about education and their goals for the future.

Chuck Kennedy

The former first lady later took to her Instagram to share a photo and reflect on her visit.

“Celebrating the beauty and diversity of our country on this #InternationalWomensDay with some of the many fierce and promising girls here at DC’s Cardozo Education Campus,” she wrote. “I loved visiting this school because it tells the American story in so many ways. Three years ago, Cardozo established its International Academy with only 150 students, but today it boasts nearly 400 who are thriving in and out of the classroom. By embracing young immigrants and their diverse cultures and contributions, Cardozo is a model for our entire country. The girls I met with today are ready to take on the world. We’ve just got to make sure that the world is ready for them.”

This isn’t Obama’s first surprise school visit. Last Tuesday, she stopped by Ballou STAY (School to Aid Youth) High School in D.C., an alternative school for students to complete their high school education. There, the former first lady had a teary, two-hour discussion with 14 students about pursuing higher education and finding their passions.

“Mrs. Obama had an emotional and heartfelt discussion with the students,” her ‎communications director, Caroline Adler Morales, told PEOPLE. “There were tears, laughs, and lots of hugs.”

Obama documented the visit on her Twitter and Instagram accounts, writing: “Always love visiting DC schools. Thank you for hosting me today @BallouSTAY. Stories of students #reachinghigher continue to inspire me.”

Besides these surprise drop-ins to D.C. schools, the former first lady has taken in the capital city’s museums — her March 5 visit to the National Gallery of Art with her husband had fellow museum-goers breaking out into applause — and been spotted in spin classes at a downtown Soul Cycle.

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She also negotiated and signed a publishing deal for her memoir, and has joined her husband for meetings on his presidential library and foundation. Then there’s the matter of settling into their new rented home in D.C.’s Kalorama neighborhood.

“She’s been busy,” says a source in the Obamas’ circle.

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