In 1993, then-26-year-old Danielle Metz was convicted on drug offenses related to her husband's cocaine operation. She received three life sentences plus 20 years, USA Today reported.
In 2016, Obama granted Metz clemency. She was part of 111 commutations Obama made on one day, according to NOLA.com.
During her 23-year incarceration Metz earned her GED. In an interview with The Hechinger Report, an online publication that covers inequality in education, Metz said she previously thought college was "for white kids and for 'Huxtables,'" referring to the well-to-do black family depicted in the TV sitcom "The Cosby Show" that aired from 1984 to 1992.
Upon her release from prison, Metz moved home to New Orleans and enrolled at Southern University.
Metz made the dean's list with a 3.75 GPA in her second semester. This week, Obama sent her a note of congratulations.
“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. “Tell your children I say hello, and know that I’m rooting for all of you.”
Metz expressed gratitude for her clemency in the Hechinger Report interview.
“You don't know what you did for me,” Metz imagined herself telling Obama. “I’m finally coming into my own. I made the honor roll.”