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Ladies' Night: Michelle Obama Tells Girls to 'Break the Glass Ceiling'

MIKE THEILER/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Bright pink tablecloths, red carpet stars and 120 rosy-faced high school girls filled the East Room of the White House Wednesday night for a dinner to celebrate mentoring with first lady Michelle Obama. The event paired more than 20 famously successful women with girls from D.C.-area high schools to showcase the benefits of mentoring.

“You don’t always see what it took for many of us to get to where we are today. You don’t always see the thousands of hours that were spent studying or practicing or rehearsing, the years spent working for that promotion, the hammers used to break glass ceilings,” Mrs. Obama said. “All of them -- every last one of them -- had someone in their lives who took the time to encourage them and to inspire them.  None of us are here on our own.”

Comedian, actress and author Ali Wentworth started the evening off by poking a little fun at the first lady’s other initiatives.

"I'm glad that everyone's gathered here today in the East Room because we're going to talk about something that I think is vital to discuss and that is childhood obesity. Millions of Americans are...” Wentworth began before a White House aide who was in on the joke stopped her. “Who has a garden? Who knows how to organically grow... No?” she tried. The aide then called out “mentoring!”

“Oh, mentoring! That is such a great idea!" Wentworth joked.

The first lady poked back.

"When I told my husband that Ali was going to be the MC he was like 'Huh, Ali's pretty funny but sometimes she can be a little inappropriate.' So far so good."

Wentworth shouted from the audience, “The night’s not over yet!”

Other notable guests at the evening’s festivities included Academy Award-winning actresses Hillary Swank and Geena Davis, Olympic gold medal gymnast Dominique Dawes, and the founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Nancy Brinker.

The first lady encouraged the mentees to “reach back and pull someone else up. It’s never too soon to start mentoring.”

Earlier in the day Mrs. Obama visited Ballou High School in Washington, D.C., where she talked about growing up on the South Side of Chicago. She gave a short speech, then took two questions from students.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

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