‘Don’t Be Afraid to Try Stuff’: Barack Obama Surprises High School Students in Chicago

Former President Barack Obama surprised a group of high school kids in Chicago’s Southwest side on Tuesday. Obama went to Eric Solorio Academy to meet with the students participating in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “One Summer Chicago” jobs program.

In a video posed to his Twitter, Obama gave some solemn words of advice to a group of students who learned how to code over the summer:

“I think it’s a useful lesson for all of you is to just don’t be afraid to try stuff because we hold ourselves back a lot by thinking ‘I don’t know if I can pull this off, I don’t want to be embarrassed, I don’t want to seem foolish, you know, I don’t want somebody laughing at me or saying I don’t belong.’ You can pull it off. So you know, try it out. Alright? Don’t hold yourself back.”

He continued his praises to the students, calling them, “very impressive young people.”


Mayor Emanuel announced in July the summer program provided 32,000 jobs and internships to youth ages 14-24 this summer, a record since the program began in 2011. 

“The skills they develop will stay with them long after the summer is over,” he said in a press release. “That is why we will continue to expand these programs to ensure all our young people are prepared for college, their career, and their future success.”