My 24 hours in Washington D.C.
When I received an e-mail from my editor asking for my availability for an undisclosed assignment on the 14th and 15th of July, I replied saying that I would be able to do any assignments that were necessary on those dates. Later, he revealed the assignment: I was to interview the President of the United States of America!
The morning of the interview, Topanga, the other Kid Reporter, and I (along with our parents) took a self-guided tour of the White House. I was able to see everything that I had read about or saw in pictures: the famous East Room and in it the famous picture of George Washington that Dolly Madison saved from burning in the War of 1812; Jacqueline Kennedy’s china; and the Presidential Library from the blocked off doorway to it. After the tour, my mom and I went straight to a White House gift shop nearby. We purchased a bunch of souvenirs and then rushed back to our hotel.
After confirming with one of my editors that that the interview was still on schedule, we all met up and headed to the White House. After passing through a security check, we found Lauren, a White House communications officer, along with another staff member, who escorted us to the interview. Before we went to where the interview would take place, we stopped at the Press Briefing Room. We were able to stand and get our pictures taken at the very podium that Obama stands when talking to the press! I could just imagine many of our modern Presidents standing at that very podium!
We were then led to the opposite side of the main hallway, and into the Library. I noticed that I’d seen that very same room earlier in the day; only it had been roped off to keep people from entering.
There, in the Library, we did an audio/video check with members of the production staff. Some Secret Service members were also in the room. Soon, a person came in saying that the President would be there in five minutes. The room quieted quickly and we all waited. I looked at my watch and four minutes had passed. Then, suddenly, the door banged open, and Lauren came in followed by President Obama and a Secret Serviceman. I was surprised because I expected someone to come in first announcing his arrival.
When we were done with the interview, the President told us that there was someone he would like us to meet. The door to the Library opened, and Bo, the First Dog, came running in and went straight to President Obama. Bo seemed confused and frantic at first, but then he calmed down when the President told him to lie down. We got to pet him, and then he was ushered out of the room.
The President then told us that he had some things to give us before we left. He gave us a presidential gift bag filled with incredible things. There was a picture of Bo, a personally signed mini Constitution book, a Frisbee, a yo-yo, a Presidential Seal, and Presidential M&Ms.
When we left the room, we were escorted down an outdoor hallway that I have seen used by many Presidents in lots of famous pictures. We then walked into an office used by the Head of the Presidential Press.
After the interview, my mom and I went to a variety of Smithsonian museums at the National Mall. We had dinner that night at an incredible Chinese food restaurant called Meiwei. That night, we hung out in our hotel room and called family members. After that, we went to the hotel restaurant and had dessert. I went to bed exhausted. I knew that I would have to get up really early the next morning to travel home to Albuquerque.
Overall, it was an incredible experience!
Check out the Kids Press Corps interview with President Barack Obama! And for more news for kids, by kids, visit the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps website!
Photos: (top) Kid Reporter Jacob Schroeder at the podium in the White House Press Briefing Room, (bottom) Jacob with the contents of the White House gift bag he and Topanga received at the end of their interview. (Photos courtesy Kyle Good and Jacob Schroeder)