The first family left the White House this morning and headed for Stuart Hobson Middle School in the District, located a few blocks east of Union Station. White House pooler Jon Ward of the Daily Caller noted that Pennsylvania Avenue was "very empty" on this MLK Day holiday.

Ward also observed a protest going on at the FBI HQ as the motorcade sped past. More on that later. From the pool reports:

POTUS and FLOTUS, along w Malia and Sasha, entered the cafeteria of Stuart Hobson Middle School around 11:15 am, and were greeted by the folks in the room with a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday" for the first lady, who is celebrating her 47th birthday today. POTUS looked relaxed and enjoyed singing along, while FLOTUS looked embarrassed and hugged Sasha from behind.  When they finished, she said, "All right let's get to work. This is embarrassing."

The family was there to learn about mentoring at an event organized by Greater DC Cares' Mentoring Matters Initiative. A few notes on wardrobe:

POTUS was wearing a white open collar shirt with a light pattern, sleeves rolled up, and brownish gray khakis.  FLOTUS wore a gray sweater and black pants and gray Chuck Taylor sneakers.  POTUS, before his remarks, worked his way around the room, shaking hands and saying hello. FLOTUS got busy painting a piece of fruit on a pillar, while the girls sat down at separate tables and helped paint college logos (could not see which ones).  "Doing great work. Great work," POTUS told one table. 

The president greeted everyone and talked to students participating in the program. Activities included painting dancing fruit on cafeteria pillars to encourage healthy eating, and painting college logos on canvas to hang in classrooms -- to get younger students interested and talking about higher education.

"This is just a outstanding program, an example of what Martin Luther King's birthday should be all about," the president said. "Dr King obviously had a dream of justice and equality in our society but he also had a dream of service, that you could be a drum major for service, that you could lead by giving back to our communities. That's what this program is all about." "Michelle and I and the girls are extraordinarily proud that each year on Martin Luther King's birthday this is how we celebrate is making sure we're giving back to the community." He said that he hoped all service programs across the country were "getting similar attention," and launched into the quote at the top which references the "painful week" last week following the shooting in Arizona.  After POTUS finished his brief remarks he began coloring the bicep on a flexing apple on one of the pillars, filling in with yellow marker. 

After little more than an hour, the first family departed and the motorcade headed back to the White House. Outside of the FBI building, about 100 protestors had gathered wearing orange jumpsuits and black hoods. One had a sign that said "Release Those Unjustly Bound."

Awaiting your return to work tomorrow, the light poles along Pennsylvania Avenue are already decorated with U.S. and Chinese flags. Chinese President Hu Jintao hits town tomorrow.