By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service
American Forces Press Service
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – First Lady Michelle Obama joined Nickelodeon TV’s “iCarly” celebrity cast at a school here today to pay tribute to the children of service members and preview the show’s upcoming episode about the hardships of military families.
With hundreds of cheering students – many of them from military families – and pop music booming in Hayfield Secondary School’s auditorium, Obama and the five actors who make up the “iCarly” cast danced onto the stage with the fanfare of a rock concert.
It was the last of four such appearances as part of the first lady’s “Joining Forces” campaign with Dr. Jill Biden, which seeks to get all Americans involved in supporting military families. Similar events were held this week at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif.; Naval Submarine Base New London, Conn.; and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.
“Kids like you make the same kind of sacrifices that your families do,” Obama said, after asking for a show of hands of military children. “I know how hard it is to stay strong and focused when your mom or dad is serving.”
She noted that Jerry Trainor and Noah Munck, who play Spencer and Gibby, respectively, on “iCarly”, also are from military families.
In a preview of the “iCarly” episode that airs Jan. 16, the audience watched as the show’s main character, Carly Shay, and her older brother, Spencer, are heartbroken to get a last-minute call from their father, a deployed Air Force colonel, saying he can’t get home for the birthday celebration they planned for him, marking three consecutive birthdays of his they have missed.
But before they can put away the red, white and blue balloons and streamers and the jet aircraft birthday cake, Carly’s friends surprise her with a video chat with her father. A technical glitch keeps Carly from seeing him, but she can read his words to her on the screen and be happy again.
Obama, who approached “iCarly” producer Dan Schneider about creating the military-focused segment, said the show is a favorite of hers and her daughters, Malia and Sasha. She makes a surprise cameo appearance in the upcoming episode to lend her support to Carly and Spencer and tell them she is proud of them and their friends’ support, allowing “Colonel Shay” to defend the nation.
“We did this episode because we want the whole country know how proud we are of all of you, and how much we appreciate you as our little heroes,” Obama said. “So we want you to stay strong. Be proud of what you do, because we are so proud of you. And we know sometimes it can be hard, but know that you have your entire country behind you.”
During a question-and-answer session after today’s screening, a 13-year-old boy told Obama his father is deployed to Afghanistan, leaving him “to be the man of the house.” Asked by the first lady how many schools he has attended, he answered five.
“When you find a military kid coming in new, it’s your time to step up,” Obama told the audience. “Find out who the military kids are in your school and make sure they feel welcome.”
Obama and the cast taped a public service announcement for Joining Forces with the cheering audience in the background.