My memorable day at the White House attending event for college journalists

Written by | Alma Bustamante |

My eyes couldn’t believe the email I was reading. I was accepted to participate in the inaugural College Reporter Day on April 28 at the White House in Washington, D. C. When I say I couldn’t believe it, I’m not kidding, I thought it probably was a joke, especially after how the application process went.

Two weeks prior to the email, I received an email inviting me to be part of this event. I filled out all the information and questions they asked for, and after clicking submit, I saw the awful, “the page you requested is not found,” message. I freaked out. I knew all this wasn’t true. Well, I submitted the application again and again and again, actually like 20 times, hoping it would say otherwise. It never did, so I couldn’t do much but go on with my life.

So when I received that email, I immediately forwarded it to Mike Haynes and Jill Gibson, my Student Media advisers and personal mentors. I remember Jill’s response, “Wow!” Yep, that’s how I felt, too.
I was extremely lucky that the college was able to afford my trip, thanks to the Office of Student Affairs and President Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart. Thank you again.

A month later, I was heading to the nation’s capital with Lynaé Jacob, chairwoman of the communication and theater department, to meet White House senior administration officials and, who knows, maybe President Barack Obama as well.
Finally the day came, and I was super nervous. I didn’t know what to expect but finally was able to grasp the idea that I’M GOING TO BE IN THE WHITE HOUSE.

Sitting there with college reporters from all over the country, covering important issues, seems surreal to me. It is undeniably an experience I will never forget. I was sitting across from people who are making a difference in this country. That’s empowering. We talked about college issues such as sexual assault and college affordability. As a journalist, meeting White House correspondents from Scott Horsley, correspondent for the National Public Radio, and Christi Parsons, correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and six other papers, made me more determined that this is what I want to do.

Unquestionably the highlight of my day – and trip – was meeting Obama. His appearance was planned since the beginning but was kept a surprise for all of us. Although he is the leader of the free world, he seemed humble to me. He talked about how important our job is as young college reporters. “You as journalists are going to have a role to play in reducing cynicism (in society),” Obama. said Being a part of this event while representing Amarillo College has been one of the most unforgettable experiences in my life. I never would have thought that I was going to meet so many important people while working for The Ranger. It proves to me how determination and tenacity can take you many places—even to the White House.

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