COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WUSA9) -- First Lady Michelle Obama gave the commencement speech for Bowie State University Class of 2013 on Friday.
The graduation was moved to the Comcast Center to accommodate the large crowd.
First Lady Michelle Obama congratulated the students and commended the loved ones who helped get them there.
"Not a day goes by that I don't think about the sacrifices my mom and dad made.Every single one of you has a role as educators for our young people. Be an example of excellence for the next generation."
Aja Harris, received a nursing degree, "so proud to be a part of an historical moment for the first time the First Lady speaks to our school, it's amazing."
The First Lady expects great things from the Class of 2013 and recognized how many faced incredible challenges to get here.
Take Aja Harris, holding down a full time job, being a mom of two small children and getting her nursing degree.
"If my skin was not holding everything together I'd burst with so much joy and pride,"Jacqui Freeman, Aja's mother, said.
The First Lady also singled out Ariel Williams Edwards among the 600 graduating. Her mother struggled with substance abuse.
Michelle Obama, "Ariel drew inspiration from her life and majored in social work so she could help families like hers."
Ariel Williams Edwards, "I wasn't sure if she was going to mention my name. It's very exciting."
It's a lifetime achievement for Harris who is already taking care of the next generation.
Harris' mother, "I am thrilled, it's the best day of my life besides giving birth to her."
Michelle Obama received an honorary doctorate of laws degree.The president and the first lady have been supportive of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Bowie State University, with nearly a 150 year history, is Maryland's oldest historically black university.