President Obama speaks to Benjamin Banneker HS students

This was President Obama's second visit to Banneker High school because he says it's a school that's "doing it the right way."

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - The high school graduation rate around the country has reached a record 83 percent, but Benjamin Banneker Academic High School routinely exceeds that national average with 100 percent of its students going on to college.

So President Barack Obama made his second visit since 2001 to the school Monday morning. It was a memorable day for those who sang the National Anthem and for Ifunanya Chukwu Azikiwe, who introduced the President.

“He’s an icon and an idol for many people and to see him in person is a great privilege,” she said. “He told me he was proud of me and I would do a good job.”

The president joked with the kids about having their phones with them to kill the time as they waited for his arrival. But they said it was well worth the wait.

“I’m so excited, there’s a lot going on,” said Amari McDuffie. “I wanted to cry!”

McDuffie was recognized by President Obama for keeping up with her classes during an extended hospital stay for a heart and lung condition.

“I never thought I needed credit for working hard but now that I see people notice, I’m really excited,” she said.

“They all work hard and push each other,” said Principal Anita Berger, so the recognition of all their hard work made that moment even more special.

“There is magic in each and every one of you,” said President Obama. “We just have to help you unleash it and nurture it.”


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