By Omar Reyes/Staff writer/@salar0895
A couple months ago, Viking Co-editor and friend Denise Jones was selected by my adviser, Patrick McKean, to accompany LBCC President Eloy Oakley to cover an event where he spoke in Washington D.C., I was so happy for her.
When Denise told me about White House College Reporter Day, she encouraged me to apply. When I applied, I never actually thought I would be chosen to go to the White House for the event.
After receiving my confirmation email, I couldn’t believe it. The Viking staff congratulated me and I received generous donations from McKean, Ginny Baxter, The LBCC Foundation and other generous donors.
I had never been to Washington D.C. before so I was pretty excited to be able to go, to say the least. Not to mention going to the White House and the slim possibility of meeting the president.
I arrived on Wednesday, April 27 and attended the college reporter event the next day. After being cleared that I wasn’t a threat to the president, but just a mere college student, around 50 other college students and I were regrouped into the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (next to the White House) and inside the Indian Treaty Room where most of the events were scheduled.
The whole experience was exciting, but very tedious and intimidating. I felt like a real reporter with the opportunity of asking White House officials questions and listening to what they have to say about issues in America.
Things started to get really good and mind-blowing when we were redirected to the James S. Brady press briefing room in the West Wing of the White House, where President Obama conducts press conferences and where reporters are allowed to ask him questions. We met White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest and asked him questions.
All was smooth and then he appeared. The man. The legend. President Barack Obama stepped in to greet us “hotshot” journalists. My heart almost stopped when he stepped into the room and I filled with all kinds of euphoric and nervous emotions. The U.S. president was 10 feet away from me, willing to answer my questions!
Though I raised my hand, 50 other students raised their hands as well and Obama called on only seven of us, with him alternating male and female. I wasn’t picked to ask him a question. However, I am happy that the lucky students were able to ask him questions. It is already a monumental honor to even be in the same room with the president.
The whole experience gave me a whole inside look at the importance of journalism and reporting, a new and respectful understanding of politics, and a newfound appreciation of LBCC and the school’s dedication and appreciation of students. We were notified April 28 that President Obama would not be able to come to graduation June 9.