On a cold, rainy morning nothing could dampen the spirits of Olney Adventist Preparatory School’s [Olney Prep’s] second, third, and fourth graders as they prepared to visit the White House. This would put us among the first visitors for the holiday season—right after Mrs. Obama welcomed the military families.
The students, with their teachers and chaperones, stood eagerly in the rain, waiting in line for their security check. Finally, after being properly identified, we were greeted at the East Visitor Entrance by Bo, the shiny, black Portuguese water spaniel with white feet, and his new little sister, Sunny—the Obama family dogs.
After being enveloped in the wonderful Christmas scent of the lush, green garland and gleaming gold vines on the pillars, the first tree we saw was one that was a tribute to military families. It was decked out in red, white, and blue ornaments. Along the wide hallways and floor-to-ceiling windows were portraits of the Obamas and celebrations of Christmases past. Next we saw two life-sized replicas of Bo and Sunny, made out of black satin ribbon. The dogs were even wagging their tails and waving welcome to us!
From there we entered the East Room. What a sight! There were ornate gold and crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and four Christmas trees strategically placed around a grand wooden table.
The Red and Green Rooms were beautiful, but the official White House Christmas tree prominently took center stage in the Blue Room. It was strewn with decorations, pictures, and letters honoring our military families. That tree was so tall it touched the ceiling.
The highlight of the State Dining Room was a gingerbread replica of the White House, complete with miniatures of Sunny and Bo, displayed on the fireplace mantle. After a few more pictures with some of the White House staff members whose students either previously attended or currently attend Olney Prep, it was time to leave. We had a wonderful time that will be etched in our memories and hearts forever.
To see more pictures, visit whitehouse.gov/about/inside-white-house/holidays-2013.
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