Michelle Obama writes actress Yara Shahidi college recommendation letter

Published: Monday, March 13, 2017 @ 4:33 PM
Updated: Monday, March 13, 2017 @ 5:23 PM

            WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 11: First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama (L) and actress and activist Yara Shahidi participate in panel discussion at Glamour Hosts 'A Brighter Future: A Global Conversation on Girls' Education' with First Lady Michelle Obama at The Newseum on October 11, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Glamour)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 11: First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama (L) and actress and activist Yara Shahidi participate in panel discussion at Glamour Hosts 'A Brighter Future: A Global Conversation on Girls' Education' with First Lady Michelle Obama at The Newseum on October 11, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Glamour)

Former first lady Michelle Obama visited a Washington, D.C., school on International Women's Day, and she also recently did something else to promote a teenage girl's education.  

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“Black-ish” star and social activist Yara Shahidi, 17, is currently undergoing the process of applying to colleges. Last fall, she told People magazine that she was applying to universities along the East and West coasts, including Harvard University — Obama’s alma mater. It is also where Malia Obama will attend when she finishes her gap year this fall. Vanity Fair reported Sunday that Shahidi has applied to four universities, including the Ivy League school.

Shahidi has a leg up on the competition thanks to the former first lady agreeing to write a letter of recommendation for the young star, who plans to double-major in African-American studies and sociology, W magazine reported.

The actress first met Obama when they shared the stage at Glamour’s “International Day of the Girl” event in October. Since then, Shahidi has met with Obama several times. She said Obama has been a source of encouragement.

“She is very amazing and such a supporter, which is something very surreal to say,” Shahidi said of the former first lady in the interview with W magazine.

Like Malia Obama, Shahidi plans to take a gap year, a choice that many criticized the former first daughter for making.

“What’s interesting is I know so many people that are deferring. It’s more than to just roam around or just sit down and stare at a wall, but it will also give me an opportunity to work,” Shahidi told People of her decision to do a gap year. “I’ve been working more than half of my life, and that’s always been balanced with school and all of the other responsibilities, so to have a year to focus on work and to focus on specified interests will be nice before I pick a career and choose what I want to study and my life path.”

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We, too, sing America #YESWECAN #YESWEDID

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Girl shot in Maryland school shooting taken off life support, dies

Published: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 11:30 AM

Girl Shot In Maryland High School Shooting Dies After Taken Off Life Support

One of two victims of a school shooting in Maryland has died. 

Jaelynn Rose Willey, 16, was taken off of life support Thursday. She died a few hours later at 11:34 p.m. Thursday night, WRC reported.

Willey was injured earlier this week when a student with whom she had a previous relationship shot her in the head in the hallway of Great Mills High School, WRC reported.

This undated photo provided by the Willey family shows Jaelynn Willey. A teenager armed with a handgun shot and critically wounded Willey inside a Maryland school on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, and the shooter was killed when a school resource officer confronted him moments after the gunfire erupted. A third student was in good condition after he was shot.(Courtesy of the Willey family via AP)

Officials with the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office announced Willey’s death Friday morning, WBAL reported.

She was one of nine children in the Willey family. Family members said she helped take care of the other children every day, WRC reported.

The gunman died after he and a school resource officer exchanged gunfire; however, officials have not released if it was the officer’s shot that killed the teen gunman, or if he killed himself, WBAL reported.

Another student, Desmond Barnes, 14, was shot in the leg, WRC reported. He was released from a hospital Wednesday, WBAL reported.

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Who is John Bolton, H.R. McMaster’s replacement?

Published: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 8:44 AM

Who Is H.R. McMaster, Trump’s National Security Adviser

On Thursday, President Donald Trump named John Bolton as his new national security adviser.

Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was tapped to replace H.R. McMaster. 

Bolton, 69, has a long history of work in Washington D.C., including leadership roles at the State and Justice departments and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

McMaster replaced Retired Army Gen. Michael Flynn after Flynn was fired 24 days into the Trump administration. Last, fall Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to investigators in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign.

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Bolton will take over the job on April 9.

Here are a few things to know about Bolton:

  • Bolton, a strong supporter of American military might, served in the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.
  • He was one of President George W. Bush’s lawyers during the Florida vote recount in the 2000 presidential election.
  • From 1985–1989, he was the assistant attorney general at the Justice Department. 
  • From 1989–1993, he was the assistant secretary for International Organization Affairs at the State Department.
  • In May 2001, Bolton was named the under secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.
  • Between 1999 and 2001, he served on the board of the Committee for International Religious Freedom. 
  • Bolton served as United States Ambassador to the United Nations under George W. Bush. However, Senate Democrats and some Republicans blocked his nomination in 2005. He became ambassador by recess appointment from Bush.
  • Bolton is considered a “super” hawk by some in Washington. According to a profile from Reuters, he kept a defused hand grenade on his desk during his time at the State Department.
  • He recently wrote a commentary piece in the Wall Street Journal titled, “The legal case for striking North Korea first.” 
  • He considered running for president in the 2012 election. 
  • In a December 2012 interview with Greta Van Susteren, he said Hillary Clinton faked a concussion so she would not have to testifying before Congress about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. 
  • Bolton was senior vice president for public policy research at the American Enterprise Institute. The AEI is a public policy research institute.
  • He has been a Fox News contributor.
  • He’s written several books including “Surrender is not an Option,” and “How Barack Obama is Endangering Our National Sovereignty.”
  • Donald Trump considered Bolton for his Secretary of State
  • He was interviewed for the job of national security adviser after Flynn was fired.

FILE - In this Feb. 24, 2017, file photo, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference(CPAC)

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George Clooney writes open letter to Parkland students: ‘Amal and I stand behind you’

Published: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 11:42 AM

Parkland Shooting Victims Receive $500,000 Donation From George, Amal Clooney

Student journalists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have taken over The Guardian’s website ahead of the March for Our Lives.

The school’s Eagle Eye newspaper is covering event, in which students will march in Washington, D.C., to advocate for action against gun violence.

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The newspaper reached out to politicians and celebrities, including George and Amal Clooney, who donated $500,000 to the march, for an interview. 

“They turned us down on the interview, but we loved the letter George sent us back,” the Eagle Eye staff said.

Related: George, Amal Clooney donate $500K to Parkland survivors; Oprah matches amaount

In his letter to the students, Clooney said he and his wife, Amal Clooney, are “100 percent” behind the movement and will be at the March on Saturday. Clooney also emphasized that the march is for the students, and offered options for coverage.

“Amal and I are 100% behind you and will be marching in DC on the 24th, but we both feel very strongly that this is your march. Your moment,” Clooney wrote. “Young people are taking it to the adults and that has been your most effective tool. The fact that no adults will speak on the stage in DC is a powerful message to the world that if we can’t do something about gun violence then you will. The issue is going to be this, anyone you ask would feel proud to be interviewed by you but it’s so much more effective if it’s young people.

“You could talk to a dozen kids like the young kids from Chicago and LA that Emma met with. You could take over the Guardian and make it tell the stories of children by children. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to point to this moment and say it belongs to you. You certainly should do what you want but that would be my hope for you.

“Amal and I stand behind you, in support of you, in gratitude to you. 

“You make me proud of my country again.”

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Kim Kardashian, Gabrielle Union, more celebs call for gun control after Florida school shooting

Published: Thursday, February 15, 2018 @ 4:10 PM

Gabrielle Union is among the celebrities reacting publicly to news of a high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Feb. 14.
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Refinery29
Gabrielle Union is among the celebrities reacting publicly to news of a high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Feb. 14.(Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Refinery29)

A 19-year-old gumnan killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Feb. 14 just as students were being dismissed. Police have charged the gunman, Nikolas Cruz, of premeditated murder.

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As students, staff, family and friends continue to sort through loss and pain, some celebrities are expressing frustration and sadness. 

Victims of the Florida High School Mass Shooting

Many have called for an end to gun violence and better gun control measures, while others offered prayers and condolences.

Read some celebrity reactions to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting below.

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