First lady Melania Trump visited Washington D.C.'s first girls-only public charter school Wednesday with Queen Rania of Jordan and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. The school teaches students from pre-K to eighth grade. The monarch and the first lady visited Excel Academy, situated in southeast Washington and were greeted with bouquets of flowers.
"That's so beautiful, thank you," the first lady said while accepting the flowers and hugged one of the students. The queen also interacted with some parents and asked the school authorities about their mission in building life skills. "We believe that in educating a girl, we educate a family, we educate a community," school CEO Deborah Lockhart said while discussing the school's various programs focusing on extracurricular activities, social services and special needs programs, according to CNN.
The queen was visiting Washington with her husband, King Abdullah II, who had a meeting President Donald Trump.
During the school visit, they entered an 8th grade art class and a 5th grade science class, where Melania encouraged students who were working on Van Gogh-inspired watercolor paintings of daffodils. In the science class, both of them spoke to students who were busy dissecting owl pellets wearing safety glasses and lab coats.
The pair took part in a listening session, which was open to the media. The queen asked the school's CEO about the curriculum during the session and did most of the talking.
The first lady said later in a written statement to the Associated press that education helps "shine a light on gender equality and empowerment of women." She said Excel Academy is an "exceptional example" of a school that's "preparing young women to succeed in a global community."
"Hearing directly from teachers and the students who attend the school was an important step in the dialog needed to further my agenda as first lady of the United States," Melania said.
Queen Rania of Jordan has visited four U.S. first ladies since her husband took the throne in 1999. When the former first lady Michelle Obama left office, the queen praised her in one of her Instagram posts.