If you were to hear a group of one hundred girls cheering and screaming at the top of their lungs, you would probably assume it was about Ryan Gosling, right? Or maybe, Taylor Lautner? Maybe even Liam Hemsworth? However, for the girls at ALA Girls Nation, the subject of their adoration was the one and only President Barack Obama. At ALA Girls Nation 2012, the 98 senators assembled from across the nation had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of meeting, arguably, the most powerful man in the world. The experience was life-changing, but it turns out that meeting the president isn’t all glamour and prestige. Our final day at Girls Nation started with our very last senate session, in which the newly inaugurated ALA Girls Nation President Alauna Sessoms-Hall signed all of the passed legislation. Our senators passed 13 bills and 3 resolutions, surpassing the amount of legislation passed by Boys Nation. After signing the bills, we boarded the buses to go see the Martin Luther King Jr., Franklin D. Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson memorials.
On a blistering late-July day, the awesomeness of seeing all of these monuments was mixed with a hesitancy within all the senators at the thought of arriving at the White House perspiring and sun burned. But in addition to being beautiful, intelligent and funny, the Girls Nation senators are tough, and we walked the basin enjoying the beautiful scenery.
After touring the monuments, we went to the White House to join our fellow Boys Nation senators in touring the residence and meeting the president. The feeling you have when you walk through the halls of the East Wing and see all the pictures of former presidents is unexplainable. One collage showed former presidents meeting with foreign dignitaries, including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. Did you know that Queen Elizabeth has met with 11 of the past 12 U.S. presidents? She has met with all the presidents from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama himself, with the exception of Lyndon B. Johnson. The senators walked through the green room, the red room, the blue room (original names right?), and some girls even toured the White House ladies’ restroom (White House tissues make fabulous souvenirs, by the way).
An hour after we arrived, some of the president’s visitors staff took on the task of arranging all 98 senators into an orderly set up for a picture with President Obama. There was a collective gasp and massive cheers as the President walked in and shared a few remarks. All the senators put on our biggest grins, and we snapped a couple pictures with Mr. President and tried not to swoon as he walked into the middle of the group. Then, every senator shook President Obama’s hand and some even snuck in a hug. (Rumor has it a couple girls have taken to NOT washing their right hand or uniform polo in an attempt to preserve the sacred moment.) Following the pictures, handshakes and tears, all of the Boys and Girls Senators went outside and got to watch the president board Marine Force 1. Somebody pinch me please!
By the time we all finally got back to our buses, the vast majority of girls were in tears (tears of happiness that is). They took the time to phone their parents and friends to share the memorable moment. I think it is safe to say, that whether the Girls Nation senators agree or disagree with President Obama’s policies, every girl walked out of that meeting changed and impacted for life. So long Ryan Gosling, Taylor Lautner and yes, even Liam Hemsworth, because the ALA Girls Nation senators have set their sights on someone MUCH BETTER!
Written by the Rockville community