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Video: The day I met the President, by Hannah Nelson

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Last week she finished her GCSEs, and today 16-year-old Hannah Nelson met the most powerful man in the world.

The Methody student won the chance to introduce President Obama’s wife Michelle on stage at the Waterfront Hall after writing an essay on maintaining peace in Northern Ireland - but it seemed she almost stole the show as the world’s eyes fell on her and Belfast.

Her empassioned speech detailed her hope for Northern Ireland’s future.

She said: “We should not let the past pull us apart and stop us moving forward. Somehow we need to make a brighter future, a future that builds bridges and brings people together.”

And soon the teenager was setting Twitter alight with compliments and messages of hope.

One read: “Hannah Nelson, you show hope for Northern Ireland”, while another said: “Wonderful speech from Hannah Nelson from Methodist College as she introduced the First Lady - challenging and inspirational”.

But despite one tweet suggesting she would make a wonderful future First Minster, Hannah told the News Letter politics was “not my top interest”.

Speaking after the speech and meeting President Obama and the First Lady, Hannah was visibly overwhelmed - but maintained the poise and confidence she had shown on stage.

“That was amazing and to have the chance to do that and the opportunity for him to address me like that as well, I just never thought this would kind of happen to me so it’s amazing,” she said.

And what of her meeting with America’s ‘first couple’?

“I was nervous...but as soon as I met them they were really nice, really friendly people,” she said. “We had a brief conversation and we were just talking about my speech and just normal conversation like I would have with anyone else so it was nice.”

To have her speech positively critiqued by the President was a real highlight, Hannah added.

“The fact that they recognised what I’d written and they were giving high opinions on it, that’s something.”

 

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