On Monday, June 14, Thurgood Marshall Academy's Class of 2011, along with a selected few freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, got the chance of a lifetime: to play on the White House Lawn! Our group participated in the one year celebration of Let's Move Outside, an extension of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign to fight childhood obesity.
Fortunately, I was one of the TMA students selected to participate in the the trip and I was ecstatic to join 49 of my peers in being active on the White House's South Lawn. We enjoyed activities such as rock climbing, mountain biking, tent pitching, kayaking, and even fly fishing. All right there on the White House Lawn!
Initially, we thought we would be arriving to a group of many students, but it turned out we were the only school invited and that made us cherish the experience even more. It was definitely something most people will never have the chance to do – most people dream of just being inside the gates of the White House. I liked the freedom we had, so for me it was pretty much a dream come true and I’ll remember it a million years from now.
From this event, we all gained either a new skill or learned a lesson. Some of us even overcame come our fears, such as heights, and strengthened our trust in ourselves by pushing all the way to the top on the rock climbing wall.
The rock climbing wall had to be one of the most difficult things I've overcome in my life. I was scared – scared of falling, scared of slipping. Just scared! What made it more difficult was that despite being scared, you had to strategize. You had to be aware and look for places to place your feet and hands and you had to make sure you were stable before trying to move up. When you're scared, this is NOT easy. After getting myself to the top and somehow hitting the impossible-to-reach little red button that rang when you pressed it, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment. But coming down was more difficult that climbing up! After about 3 minutes of being completely frozen, I overcame my fear of falling and let go – I just pushed off and bounced all the way down to the asphalt of the White House driveway. Once my feet felt ground under them, I felt like I could achieve whatever I put my mind to. After gathering my thoughts and calming my shaking body down, I climbed the wall again. This time, I was motivated to do it faster.
Whether it be learning how to ride a bike for the first time, realizing which way pitching a tent gets it up faster, or gaining trust in yourself like I did, we all walked away with something useful to apply to our futures.