By Monica McDougal
The scene outside of her high school looked far different than normal. A line of news vans and police cars were where her school’s faculty would normally park. Police and their canine officers stood by every entrance. Across the street, a group of protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church shouted at the people in line.
After two hours of waiting, the doors to the gym lobby finally opened; the crowd began to applaud. A man in a suit stepped outside with a megaphone in his hand. He asked the crowd to have their tickets and identification out and ready for security.
The line began to file into the building. When it was her turn, she handed her ticket and driver’s license to an officer. After he examined them, he handed them back and directed her to a metal detector on the left side of the room. She breezed through security without any issues and headed into the gym. As she walked through the doors, she was amazed by what she saw. The gym was filled with people. The basketball court was covered in chairs and both sets of bleachers were packed. On the west side of the gym, there was a sea of reporters and television cameras poised and ready to capture the event. The east wall was covered with long, royal blue curtains, and in front of them was a large stage with a podium in the center. She found an empty spot in the bleachers next to one of her classmates and sat down.
As she continued to look around, she noticed men in suits standing stoically by every exit and one standing by the stairs to the stage. She watched this particular man closely. After a while, he pressed his hand to his ear. Then, he lifted his wrist to his mouth and spoke. She was wondering what he had said when the doors to the lobby closed loudly, making her jump in her seat. The crowd fell silent. It was the moment they had all been waiting for.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” said a voice over the loudspeakers. “The President of the United States of America.”
The crowd jumped to their feet and cheered as President Obama took the stage. The citizens of her small town that were in attendance seemed to cheer louder than anyone else. Her heart was racing and she had goosebumps on her arms. She raised her camera and took picture after picture. She knew that she would always want to remember this moment. After all, how many chances does a girl get to see the President of the United States speak in her high school gymnasium.