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Thursday, May 27, 2010

DC SCORES students visit the White House, see President Obama speak

The wait was long, but well worth it.

Last Wednesday, a group of DC SCORES students from Oyster-Adams Bilingual School had the experience of a lifetime when they were invited to the White House’s South Lawn to witness the arrival ceremony of Mexico President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa and his wife Mrs. Margarita Zavala.

Up2Us, a national coalition of sports-based youth development organizations, invited DC SCORES to attend the event, and we were able to take some of our middle school students to witness the special ceremony. The Oyster-Adams students were one of just three or four student groups on the lawn who witnessed President Hinojosa and Mrs. Zavala pull up in a car and be greeted by the Obamas.

Hilary Clinton and Joe Biden, among other famous figures, were also on hand.

The bilingual students then stood, transfixed, as both countries’ national anthems were played by a pair of Army bands and President Obama took the podium to speak. DC SCORES students have seen and met past presidents, but the Oyster poet-athletes were the first to see Obama in person.

Clearly, the moment meant so much to them.

They also listened attentively to President Calderón’s speech, as he talked about working together with the United States. Teamwork is one of DC SCORES’ three tenets, and to hear about it from the president of the country many of them are from and still have relatives in sent a strong message.

Overall, the experience was unforgettable for the students. Sebastian D., who moved from Colombia two months ago, had talked about the visit the night before with his father, who lamented the fact that he’d been in the United States for 10 years and still hadn’t seen a president.

Sebastian clearly felt pretty special getting the opportunity to witness President Obama up close so soon.

And his teammates, all decked out in their yellow soccer jerseys, felt the same way.

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