(CNS News) – First lady Michelle Obama joked about the explosion of a solar-powered car when encouraging graduates of Oregon State University to persevere through life’s challenges.

The first lady was the commencement speaker Sunday at OSU in Corvallis, Ore., where her brother, Craig Robinson, is the men’s basketball coach.

“In those darkest moments, you will have a choice,” the first lady said. “Do you dwell on everything you’ve lost? Or do you focus on what you still have, and find a way to move forward with passion, with determination, and with joy?”

One of the examples she gave was of a student who faced severe burns when the $100,000 solar-powered car he helped build exploded and left him with severe burns.

“And then there’s another member of the class of 2012, Nicolas Sitts, who’s earning his degree in Chemical Engineering,” Michelle Obama said. “I understand that as a member of OSU’s Solar Vehicle Team, Nicolas spent two years painstakingly building a solar car.

“But when he took it out for a test drive last summer, it caught fire and exploded, and Nicolas sustained second- and third-degree burns on his arm, face and leg. But instead of throwing in the towel, within a month, the team was back at work, building another, hopefully less explosive car,” the first lady continued.

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