McKinley student still in awe she introduced President Obama at - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

McKinley student still in awe she introduced President Obama at town hall

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Her first big speech was on the national stage. After introducing the President of the United States on Thursday at the town hall at her high school, Che'Dra Joseph said it still hasn't hit her that she met Barack Obama. The McKinley High senior, who has a 4.6 GPA, said she is still floating above cloud nine. 

On Friday morning, she said some of the underclassmen had given her hugs, teachers said they started crying when she spoke and some of the administrators have told her she is famous. 

She is trying to get back to her regular schedule after a week of speech writing and communicating with the White House. 

Joseph said earlier in the week, when rumors started about President Obama coming to the school, she started asking questions. Then one afternoon, she was called into principal's office. 

"Mr. Brister was like 'Congratulations' and I was like 'Thank you.' He's like, 'You don't know what you're being congratulated for,'" she said. 

That's how she found out she was going to be the one to introduce the president. 

Joseph, who is the school's student of the year, said she thought maybe she would get to welcome guests to the school. She never suspected this honor. 

She said she began making an outline of what she wanted to say: things about herself and her school. When she had the final draft, she had 20 people read it and then sent it to the White House. 

"It was actually a little too long. They just asked me to shorten it, closer to 300 words." 

During part of her speech, which drew cheers from the audience, she said, "I am here in spite of, not because of my circumstances. I have defied the statistics and I will not falter in my aspirations to dismantle the glass ceiling imposed on women, people of color and minorities." 

She said it was nice knowing that what she had to say caused a response and emotion from the audience. 

Before she walked out from backstage, Joseph said she met the nation's leader. He asked her about college options and what she wanted to pursue as a career. Joseph is an aspiring environmental engineer and her top school choices right now are Harvard, the University of California at Berkley, Brown and Stanford. Two of which she said she's already had interviews. 

"They asked if I was ready to go on stage and I was like, I mean, no, I want to talk to the president. But, hey sure. So I walked on stage." 

She doesn't remember much of what happened after that. Only that the president hugged her and told her great job. 

So now, as she tries to return to her normal life, focusing on graduating and a career where she said she wants to make a difference, there's one small favor she'd like to ask of the White House. 

"Make sure to let him know I would not mind a recommendation. I feel like he said my name enough that colleges will get it." 

Joseph said the president did sign her speech and she's waiting to get the official pictures from the White House. 

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