Before the audience at Hayfield Secondary School heard from Michelle Obama or the cast of Nickelodeon's hit television show "iCarly," they listened to Antonio, an 8th-grade Hayfield student whose father is serving in Afghanistan.
"I have to be the bigger man, to be the man in the household," he said when he explained the challenges he faces when his father is deployed.
Children like Antonio are the reason the first lady was at Hayfield Friday to screen an episode of "iCarly" aimed at children in military families and their friends.
When the first lady asked the students from Hayfield Secondary and nearby Hayfield Elementary—most of them clad in Hayfield orange—how many of them had family members in the military, dozens of hands shot up.
Obama told other students to support their friends in military families by understanding the difficulties they face.
"It's not easy changing school every few years, keep your grades up," Obama said.
At the beginning of the assembly, students watched an "iCarly" episode, set to air next week on Nickelodeon, featuring the first lady. When the main character Carly can't see her deployed Air Force father on his birthday, her friends set up a web show over the Internet for them to talk. The first lady sees the webcast and visits the show to thank Carly and her friends for supporting her father.
Earlier this month, the show's cast showed the episode for families on military bases in California, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The first lady joined them in Connecticut for a screening.
After the episode played at Hayfield, the first lady and the actors danced onstage, doing a "Random Dance" from the show, and began taking questions from the audience.
When a girl in the audience asked Obama what she was doing about school cafeteria food, and whether she could change the food at Hayfield, the first lady promised to make school food healthier. The audience groaned.
"It's hard to do what you do if you're not healthy," Obama insisted.
She also revealed that if she could have a super power, she would choose the ability to fly.
The Q&A was briefly interrupted when an audience member yelled, "We love you, Nick!" at actor Nick Kress, who plays Freddie on the show. When Kress yelled back that he loved them, too, students in the audience swooned.
Some "iCarly" cast members also talked about their experiences having parents in the military. Noah Munck, who plays Gibby on the show, said he's proud that his father served his country.
"I love telling people my dad's a Marine," he said. Actress Miranda Cosgrove, who plays title character Carly, said that they made the episode with Obama to support and celebrate military families.
"Know that you have an entire country that stands besides you guys," Obama said.