01:02 - Source: CNN
Obama gives surprise message at concert

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Obama visited McKinley Tech High School in Washington, D.C., to talk to a group of students

"I do believe that most of the problems that we have are going to be solved by you," he said

Washington CNN  — 

Students at a Washington, D.C., high school had a surprise career counselor welcome them back to school on Friday – former President Barack Obama.

Obama visited McKinley Tech High School with DC Public Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson to talk to a group of students about “their life goals, pursuing higher education, and giving back to their communities,” according to a statement from his spokesman, Kevin Lewis.

A short video of the talk was posted on Instagram.

“You don’t mind me crashing, right?” Obama said walking through the classroom doors to a roomful of stunned and giggling students.

“One of the things that I did throughout my presidency was I’d meet with groups of young people everywhere I went, whether it was here in the United States or when I was traveling overseas, just to kind of hear from them, find out what they are interested in, because I do believe that most of the problems that we have are going to be solved by you,” he said, sitting with the students in a circle of chairs.

The purpose of the visit was to encourage “the next generation of leaders” and is part of an ongoing series of conversations Obama is having with young people, Lewis’ statement said. The former President also held a discussion with young leaders at the University of Chicago in April in what was his first public appearance since leaving office.

McKinley Tech participates in D.C.’s Empowering Males of Color program, which the district’s public school system launched in 2015 to provide academic and personal support for African-American and Latino students in response to Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, the statement said. Obama launched that effort to encourage cities, towns and tribal nations to develop action plans to address gaps in opportunities for boys and young men of color and ensure all youth can reach their full potential, it said.