‘I am so proud of you.’
President Barack Obama granted Danielle Metz clemency in 2016. Out of prison, she made the dean’s list in college. She wished she could thank Obama for his help.
In a story published Monday in USA TODAY, Metz expressed her gratitude toward the former president.
“You don’t know what you did for me,” she imagined herself telling him. “I’m finally coming into my own. I made the honor roll.”
This week, Obama wrote her a letter, wishing Metz all the best going forward.
“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,” Obama wrote to Metz. “Tell your children I say hello, and know that I’m rooting for all of you.”
Metz was arrested in 1993 for drug offenses related to her husband’s cocaine trafficking ring. At 26, she was sentenced to three life sentences plus another 20 years.
In federal prison, Metz earned her GED. She began writing letters and making appeals for her freedom. In 2016, Obama released her, and Metz enrolled in Southern University in New Orleans the following year. At 50 years old, she was a college freshman.
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In her second semester at Southern, she earned a 3.75 grade point average and made the dean’s list. Her only regret? That she couldn’t tell Obama.
In a heartwarming twist, Obama came across the USA TODAY story and sent a personal note to the woman whose life he dramatically changed.
The story about Danielle Metz was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Sign up for the Hechinger newsletter.