When President Obama delivers his first State of the Union address tonight (Jan. 27), Harvard freshman Janell Holloway ’13 will be watching from the first lady’s box in the U.S. House chamber.
The White House bestowed the honor on Holloway in an effort to reach out to young people and as a reward for her White House service last summer as a D.C. Scholar, following her graduation from high school.
“The president and first lady have been opening up the White House in new ways, and they’ve made a special effort to make this a place for young people to learn about the world around them,” said White House spokeswoman Moira Mack.
Holloway, one of two students chosen for the honor, said she was thrilled to learn she’d be at the event, during which the president lays out his policy agenda for the year, up close.
“It was like something out of a movie,” Holloway told the Boston Globe. She said she had met first lady Michelle Obama during her internship. “She’s really cool in person, really down to earth,” Holloway said.
At Harvard, Holloway is a member of the campus chapter of the Red Cross, the CityStep dance troupe, and the Black Students Association. While in high school, she made documentaries on the Tuskegee Airmen’s role in World War II and the influence of black radio on the Civil Rights movement.