Edited by: Megan Dortch
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 to check upon entrance.
The line began to slowly file into the building one by one. When it was her turn, she handed both 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 an issue and headed into the gym. As she walked through the doors, she was amazed that the gym was filled with so many 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 and 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 and waited in anticipation.
“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 people from her small town that were in attendance seemed to cheer louder than everyone else. Her heart was racing as goosebumps crept up 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 would she get to see the President of the United States speak in her high school gymnasium.