"Once in a Lifetime Opportunity"
December 20, 2018
By Hayley Zamolo
Kid Scoop Media Correspondent; age 16
I have been quite interested in how our government works since becoming involved with the Youth and Government program at my school. So imagine my excitement when I learned I was going to the White House! The experience exceeded any expectations or hopes I had upon arriving in Washington, D.C. Not only did we tour the White House, meet newscasters, and sit and listen to speakers in the James Brady Press Room, but we also saw the President of the United States.
I was selected to be a student journalist (or "scooper") for Kid Scoop Media. Once I was confirmed by the White House for security clearance onto the property, I was able to observe other activity in the press room, tour the holiday decorations at the White House, and witness and report on my experiences from that day.
I was in awe of how amazingly beautiful the White House was decorated by the First Lady. Every detail was thought out. Although we were not able to see the First Lady in person, her decorations certainly got me in the Christmas spirit!
The moment I will forever cherish was being able to see President Trump. We were informed that he was headed to a rally in Mississippi, and we were able to see him leave on Marine One. Before he left, though, he came over to the press area and answered questions. I wasn't close enough to introduce myself or talk to him, but I listened to what he had to say. Just being in his presence was an honor.
Once Marine One took off, we went back to the press room and were surrounded by newscasters relaying the President's message about strengthening our borders. Being able to see President Trump and hear him talk on current issues in our nation was more than fascinating. Not only did I learn a lot more about what is going on in our world, but I learned so much about the media. I never realized how much time journalists put into their work until I saw them running back and forth, changing the lighting, rehearsing what to say, and so on. The news is always on in my house, but it never really drew my attention. I am much more interested and intrigued in the whole process now. Seeing everything first hand is so different from watching it on the television or seeing pictures or videos on the internet.
Along the way, we met a cameraman who made our tour even more enjoyable. He introduced us to journalists, other cameramen, news station teams, and even President Trump's political consultant, Kellyanne Conway. Everyone involved in this event was more than generous in sharing their experiences and the roles they play in our government and reporting the news.
I was fortunate enough to be a part of this amazing journey with my mom, aunt, and cousin. We all had such an incredible time and learned so much through this extraordinary adventure with Kid Scoop Media. I have learned so much through my time in Washington, D.C and am so grateful for this once in a lifetime opportunity.