Editor’s note: Caroline Cowart is a 12-year-old Cranston student who is attending Western Hills Middle School this year, after seven years at Glen Hills Elementary School. This is her first-person account of her experience at the White House.
Today is the day! We woke up at 3 in the morning to go to D.C. I am so excited! I am going to be eating with Michelle Obama live on TV. I am looking forward to it! I am going to be staying at the Westin Hotel with 54 other state and territory winners and their parents. I can’t wait until later on today!
When we get to D.C., we will be seeing Julia Child’s Kitchen, the Smithsonian, all of the monuments, and, of course, Michelle Obama!
Today is very hectic. We just got off the plane and we are headed to the Westin. We already met one family from Ohio on the plane. They were really nice and really excited just like us! While we were at the airport, we bumped into a mom and a girl and didn’t think of it the first time we saw them that they could maybe be from the contest too. Then we bumped into them again and that’s when mom said to me, “They are probably from the contest.” Then finally we were at the metro and mom and I were totally lost. We bumped into them again and asked if they were a winner and they said yes. It turns out they were from Kansas and they were lost too! She was my age and her name was Rori, and after that we did everything together!
Right after Rori and her mom and me and mom found our way to the Westin, we literally grabbed our gift bags and went back to the metro to get to the Smithsonian for the trip to the Julia Child’s Kitchen exhibit. It was like BOOM BOOM BOOM! We took the metro to the Smithsonian with everyone else from the contest. It was crazy fitting so many people into the metro! Well, we got to the Julia Childs exhibit and it was so cool! I loved seeing her kitchen. I would love to end up like her some day with my kitchen in a famous museum. I want to be a famous cook on TV! It was so cool. I love to cook just like her. Then we looked at a few other exhibits like the First Ladies gowns and the Star Spangled Banner, and back to the metro we go!
6 a.m. on the dot wake up call! We had to be up and out of the hotel room around 7:30 a.m. We were tired and excited. We got on the bus with other kids and took a driving tour of D.C. It was very pretty and very historical! Our last stop was the White House. When we got there, we went through five sets of security: dogs, metal detectors, the wand, licenses check two times and finally we got in, and that’s when the fun started!
The gates opened and we were there! We lined up along the white walls and took a deep breath. We walked in and beautiful music was playing, which turned out to be live musicians! At that point I knew that it was going to be amazing. There were pictures of past presidents and first ladies all down every wall. We walked into the Grand Foyer, which was the party room and it was full of fun games and fruit. It was so cool. After all the fun and games, we walked into the Blue Room to take a picture with Michelle Obama! She greeted us with wide-open arms, a big smile and a cheerful laugh. After having a small personal talk with her and having our pictures taken by the photographer, we all walked into a room called the East Room and sat down to eat!
Michelle Obama came in and did her funny and inspiring speech. We sat down to have some of the meals that had won the contest. We had a quinoa, corn and black bean salad, Rori’s yummy cabbage sloppy joes, and after that we had a fruit kabob with a smoothie for dessert. I enjoyed everything! During the luncheon, we saw Michelle Obama stand up and say, “Excuse me for this interruption, but I just got word that a special guest has decided to stop in.” Then the president walked in! He shook my hand! I was so excited and star-struck. It was so nice to have him come and give a speech; he gave a speech just for us! He shook every single person’s hand! I will never forget that moment in my life. I will tell my kids and my grandkids about the great opportunities I have had. I am so thankful to have a family that cares about me too. I will never forget that day!