We’ll remember this day for the rest of our lives.
We started off the day by joining Senator Patty Murray at her coffee meeting in the Senate Building. There were about 200 other people there, so it was quite busy. But Senator Murray had us stand up and everyone congratulated us for going to the White House Science Fair.
Mom and Dad weren’t allowed to enter the White House with us today, so they dropped us off at one of the gates and after we went through security, we eventually made our way to our table in the State Dining Room. We had a little bit of time to double-check our Loki Lego Launcher setup and make a few small adjustments.
We had a nice lunch downstairs, and were really happy that they were able to make Kimberly a special meal for her allergies. There was a minor allergy incident, but Kimberly was fine. Then, after we went back up, a few staff came through, and helped the five presenters in the State Dining Room practice our presentations, just in case “somebody important” came by.
A bunch of people started coming in, and we started doing interviews. We met a bunch of media and some really neat people, like Karlie Kloss, who is a model and a programmer. We met a lot of kids almost our age who had come to previous science fairs. This was our first one. It’s crazy that our first Science Fair is at the White House! We also met several adults who wanted to share our project with their kids. They took a lot of selfies with us.
At some point, everyone was asked to clear out of our room, but activity was still happening outside our door. We both went to the bathroom, but when we came back, a ton of cameras were set up inside, and spotlights were all being pointed to Hannah, one of our friends who was the first presentation in the State Dining Room. There were a ton of reporters. They started interviewing us while we were waiting for the “somebody important” person.
All the doors closed, and all the media people gathered in a big cloud in the middle. All five of the kid presenters groups gave each other thumbs up and air high fives with big grins. We were faked out a few times when the door opened and a few random people came through. It was funny when all the cameras went off and then stopped. Then, the President walked in.
President Obama talked to each presenter for a long time. He started with our friend Hannah, who created an ocean energy prototype. Maya gave the President a technical description of the cheaper lung health diagnostic tool she invented. Wendy and the InvenTeam showed the President their subway cleaning machine. It was cool to see how many girls there were. Then he came to us.
We were nervous when he was talking to the other kids, but we weren’t nervous when he was talking to us. We got to shake the president’s hand. He is really tall, Kimberly had to stretch her neck up to look at him. It was really exciting. He asked quite a few questions and hopefully we gave him good answers. Every time we motioned or he motioned at something, there was a loud cloud of cameras going off, which was kinda funny but a bit distracting.
It was cool, he understood what we were talking about when we were talking about our temperature data. He understood inquiry thinking (other reporters we talked to did not), which we do all the time at school.
We thought it was really fast, but President Obama actually talked to us for almost eight minutes. Then we took a picture with him when he lifted up the Loki Lego Launcher. There were so many cameras going off at the same time, it sounded like clickclickclickclickclickclickclickclick!! We liked it a lot when he said,
“Give me a first bump. I’m proud of you guys.”
After we finished our presentation, he went to talk to our friends the Blockheads, a Girl Scout troop from Missouri who invented a special glue, while we went to the East Room where there were a lot of people seated in rows. We were directed to our seats by soldiers in fancy formal uniforms with gold braids and really fancy things on them. We got lots of interviews from more media while we were seated.
At this point we were feeling really really happy. It was kind of overwhelming. We couldn’t stop smiling.
The President spoke to us about the importance of STEM education and why we needed more girls in STEM. We laughed when he said,
“We’re not going to succeed if we’ve got half the team on the bench, especially when it’s the smarter half of the team.”
After the President’s speech, we went back to our presentation in the State Dining Room and did lots more interviews. We even chatted with Bill Nye the Science Guy, and Adam Savage from Mythbusters, who is doing a new show called Tested. We talked to a lady from MIT, a NASA Astronaut who works with the White House, and tons and tons of reporters.
Somewhere during all the interviews, all our parents showed up unexpectedly, which was pretty cool. The whole time they had been in another building, and we didn’t think they were coming to the White House.
One of the reporters taught us how to use Snapchat. He even said to the others, “Hey here’s a kid who doesn’t know how to use Snapchat.” We Snapchatted our interview to somebody on the other side. Mom and Dad don’t seem too thrilled about that.
We had a lot of selfies taken with us. People said that they were parents and their kids were inspired with us, and they wanted to share it. We gave them the link to our blog.
Finally, it was time to leave. We all packed up our stuff and said goodbye to our new friends. We didn’t want to leave the White House. Rebecca told Mom and Dad to walk slower as we headed out of the Main Residence towards the East Wing. We didn’t want it to end! Finally, we exited the White House gates, where we bumped into our friends Savannah and Valerie, who made a cool new kind of material to protect firemen. We also bumped into our friend from NASA JPL, Bobak Ferdowski, aka “Mohawk Guy.” He had given us an amazing tour when we had been invited to visit NASA JPL.
After we walked out, we went back to our hotel, where we chilled out for a while and hung out with our friend Zoe and her mom who were also in town. Kimberly got to take her leftover lunch home in a White House lunch box with fancy White House napkins and a White House fork. In the meantime, President Obama went from the White House Science Fair to CIA headquarters in Langley to meet with his National Security Counsel on ISIS. No chilling out for him, we guess.
Dad: So how do you feel now?
Rebecca: Currently I feel incredibly grateful. I’m not sure I fully appreciate what just happened. I really didn’t want to leave. I wanted to stay and talk to more kid scientists.
Kimberly: I didn’t want to leave either. It’s hard to take in everything I just did and all the people I just met, especially the President. It was amazing to meet so many cool people. I think Science Fairs are a great way for kids to meet people like themselves.
Rebecca: I want to say to other kids that we’re really young, but just because you’re young doesn’t mean you can’t do something interesting or discover something new. Even if somebody else discovered it already, it’s awesome to learn stuff on your own. I also want to say thank you again to buddingSTEM for nominating us for this Science Fair. It was so awesome!!!
Dad helped us with this blog post this time, it was too long, there was so much to talk about!
White House Facebook live stream (we start around 17:00)
White House YouTube live stream (we start around 2:01:00)
White House West Wing Week (we start at 1:40)
ABC News World News Now
ABC News Interview (we start around 7:00)