Being at the White House and meeting First Lady Michelle Obama, and actors and musicians like Yo Yo Ma, was a breathtaking experience.
When I got the call from Young Playwrights’ Theater (YPT) telling me that I was going to the White House, I thought that maybe I was dreaming. I was amazed. I felt anxious when YPT told me that I was the only student who was going to give a speech there.
The big day arrived. I was so fearful because I felt like I wasn't ready to go on stage and give the speech. David Snider, YPT Producing Artistic Director, supported me by telling me that I would do a great job.
While I was giving the speech, I had the sensation that I wasn't doing it right. At first I felt like I couldn’t talk, but then I saw the First Lady looking at me with that beautiful look that she has, so I said to myself, "Mariana, you have to do it better." I started reading it the way I had practiced.
When the First Lady was giving the awards to the programs and YPT was called to go on stage I felt glad. When she hugged me, I felt delighted. When she asked me how I was doing in school, how my mom was doing, and if I was planning go to college, I felt so joyful and impressed because she was interested in me. At the end of the ceremony, students from another award-winning music program gave a jazz performance and did some amazing tap dancing!
I am so happy that I had this experience. My teachers, fellow Wakefield High School students, and the whole YPT staff watched my speech and told me that I did a great job. Most importantly, my mom was able to watch my speech in Nicaragua. She is so proud of me, and I am happy that I got to share this incredible moment with her.