AN AFTERNOON WITH POTUS: BDA STUDENTS’ ENCOUNTER WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA

Here is an article written by Johnley in Y12, who had the opportunity, along with four other BDA Sixth Form students, to attend an event with Barack Obama during his visit to London this month.

"A true honour to feel your presence 10-15 rows up the seats". That would my first sentence planned if president Obama chose me to ask him a question. Unfortunately like many dreams, it did not happen. However, what happened was the US Embassy contacted our Sixth Form at BDA, asking for five students to partake in the town hall. Lo and behold, I was chosen to sit before him!

It was similar to the campaign rallies the US presidential candidates hold in each state. You can feel the sense of unity and adrenaline in each person. Everyone wanted to meet the President of the United States. Moreover, everyone wanted to meet Obama. I was seated next to my fellow Sixth Formers, all presumably from London, although the guy next to me was from Portsmouth. We all knew that Barack Obama did not arrive to the UK just to visit a hundred Sixth Formers, but we believed in the fact that we deserved to be here listening to him.

I've got to be honest, he was really tall. His voice was an octave higher than expected, but that might be due to his accent. POTUS' mellow soothing voice captured Lindley Hall and blew us away with his sense of care. My friend was saying earlier that "He showed that he actually has a point with his answers. Like, he cared for youths too." I couldn't agree more. Plus, the level of sophistication of the questions asked by 16-19 years old across the room was high. One person asked the impacts of TTIP, or T-tip as the insider's lingo goes. It was similar to his town hall meetings when he was about to be elected. There was however, 100% more intellectual dialogues that emerged from this town hall meeting compared to Trump's. We even burst into laughter when a questioner hinted "What advice will you give her as your successor?"

The event is something never to be forgotten. It was gratifying that I was on par with Kate Brady and Benedict Cumberbatch, sitting on the other side of POTUS. I got pictures of both!

If I had the opportunity, my two questions to Obama would have been: 'what message would you give future aspiring lawyers who are about to go to university or get their first job?'; 'what can you and your administration do with the impending social divide that was caused by the whole BREXIT conundrum?'  POTUS, if you are reading this, please answer my questions! Then again, he would probably say read my books for my first question.

Overall, this has been an eventful day never to be forgotten. It reminded me of why I chose to be where I am and where I'm headed towards with my life. It is not all about grades. It is about the choice you make that will dictate your life.

By Johnley Videna, Year 12