First Lady Michelle Obama told graduates at Dillard University’s commencement Saturday that “education is still the key to real and lasting freedom,” recalling the historic struggle of black Americans to gain access to classrooms and calling on graduates to continue that struggle.

“Students like you have come here to study and to learn and to carry forward those hopes and dreams, and today I stand before a sea of young geniuses,” Obama said. “I hope that you understand that this day is not just the culmination of your own dreams, but the realization of the dreams of so many who came before you.”

But, she added, “What you should not be is satisfied.”

She pointed out that many black students, in New Orleans and elsewhere, never make it out of high school, dropping out at disproportionately high rates.

“Today the high school graduation rate for black students is improving, but it is still lower than just about every group in this country,” she said.