Celebrity

July 17, 2019

Barack Obama Writes Congratulatory Note to Former Prisoner Turned Dean's Lister after He Granted Her Clemency

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Danielle Metz used the freedom Barack Obama handed her to attain a bachelor's degree and even make it to the dean's list. Her accomplishment was affirmed by the former president who sent her a handwritten note with an important message.

This woman made the most of her second chance and Barack Obama couldn’t be prouder. 

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A PRISON LIFE SENTENCE DIDN'T KEEP HER FROM PURSUING HER DREAM

In 2016, Danielle Metz was granted clemency by Barack Obama. She had been sentenced to three life sentences plus 20 years in prison after her arrest in 1993 due to her role in her husband’s cocaine trafficking. She was only 26 at the time. 

Determined to make a difference while behind bars, Metz earned her GED inside while persistently appealing her case and fighting for her freedom. It paid off three years ago when her sentence was commuted by then-president Obama. 

"Tell your children I say hello, and know that I’m rooting for all of you.”

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SHE STRIVED TO EARN A DEGREE UPON HER RELEASE

Metz used her freedom to pursue her studies and enrolled in Southern University in New Orleans the next year where she took up social work. At 50, she was probably the oldest freshman in the campus but that didn’t keep her from achieving a 3.75 GPA and making it to the dean’s list on her second semester.

News of Metz’s accomplishment reached the press and an article about her was published on USA Today. There the New Orleans native expressed her gratitude to Obama for the opportunity to restart her life. She shared with the publication what she would tell him if she had the chance. 

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“You don't know what you did for me. I’m finally coming into my own. I made the honor roll,” she would say. 

According to studies, less than 4% of former inmates attain a bachelor’s degree. Metz was determined enough to make the statistic.

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OBAMA TOOK NOTICE AND CONGRATULATED HER

Unknown to Metz, Obama read her story and responded with a handwritten note. In it, the famous president congratulated her and revealed how proud he was of her. 

“I am so proud of you, and am confident that your example will have a positive impact for others who are looking for a second chance. Tell your children I say hello, and know that I’m rooting for all of you.”

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SHE THOUGHT IT WASN'T POSSIBLE

Metz used to think college was only for White people but she certainly proved herself wrong. Hers is a story of perseverance and will. According to studies, less than 4% of former inmates attain a bachelor’s degree. Metz was determined enough to make the statistic. She credits a message she received from a former prison friend who taught her the value of education.

“To Danielle – There’s so many things we can’t get in here, but knowledge and education can’t be kept out by walls.”

Indeed, there is no limit to what a person is capable of regardless of the odds once you set your mind to it.

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HE'S A MAN WHO FREQUENTLY PENS MESSAGES TO THOSE WHO DESERVE IT

Meanwhile, Obama has proven time and again how thoughtful he is when it comes to giving credit when credit is due. In the recent past, he's penned congratulatory messages as well as words of encouragement to people who deserve them. These include LeBron James for the success of his "I Promise" school and even Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodgriguez on their engagement. More recently, he congratulated the US women's soccer team for their impressive win in the World Cup. 

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