As high schools in the US are settling back into the first semester after summer break, students at McKinley Tech in Washington DC thought Friday was going to be a day like any other day… until in walked a former President of the United States.
With his usual laid back cool-dad approach, Barack Obama strolled into the high school class with a simple, “Hey, how’s it going everybody?”, taking them entirely by surprise – needless to say, hysteria ensued.
Once the high schoolers recovered from the shock, Obama spoke to them about the importance of politicians, such as himself, engaging with young people.
“One of the things I did throughout my presidency was I’d meet with groups of young people everywhere I went, whether it was here in the US or when I was travelling overseas,” Obama told the teenagers.
“Just to kind of hear from them, find out what they’re interested in, because I do believe most of the problems we have are going to be solved by you.”
Video of the classroom “crashing” was posted to Obama’s Instagram and showed the former president leaving the school to throngs of screaming student supporters who covered the front lawn. “Make us proud,” his Instagram caption reads. “You’re the next generation of leaders, and we need you.”
Appreciation for Obama and the inevitable comparisons with current US President Donald Trump quickly flooded social media.
There isn’t much hope coming from the White House. Nice to see this at least.
— Impeach Donald Trump (@Impeach_D_Trump) September 8, 2017
I miss having a president that cared about kids and the future. Instead we have a man who cares about himself and himself.
— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) September 8, 2017
Trump gave an R-rated speech to Boy Scouts.
This guy reminds us how presidents can be positive role models to young people.
— Saieed I. Khalil (@saieedkhalil) September 8, 2017
We love you and miss you so much my president 😭♥️🙏🏻
— ℒᎽℒᎯ ℋᎯℒℰ🔥❤ (@lylahale) September 8, 2017
In a statement obtained by The Hill, Obama spokesman Keith Schiller said the former president was joined by District of Columbia Public Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson for a discussion with students about “their life goals, pursuing higher education and giving back to their communities.”
“President Obama is focused on supporting the next generation of leaders,” the statement said. “Today’s meeting is part of that ongoing conversation with young people.”
Throughout his presidency, Obama made a point of connecting with young people around the globe, often visiting schools and spearheading campaigns to promote education in deprived areas.
Then-first lady Michelle Obama is a known classroom crasher herself, casually walking into a cooking class at John Burroughs Elementary School in Northeast Washington back in 2016. Her arrival prompted one young boy to leap from his seat and fly into her arms.
As First Lady, Michelle also worked on a global girls’ education initiative. The Let Girls Learn mission is a global effort aimed at giving girls the education they need to “fulfill their potential and lift up their families, communities and countries.”