POOLER, GA (WTOC) - "Your future is in your hands." That was the message for millions of students on Tuesday as President Barack Obama gave his annual "Back to School" speech.
The speech was televised in schools all over the country including in the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry. West Chatham Middle School students in Pooler were watching with added interest. The president actually mentioned one of their own classmates in his speech, 12-year-old Tamerria Robinson.
He read part of Robinson's letter, a letter she said she was inspired to write after participating in WTOC's Celebration of America middle school essay contest.
The seventh-grader is ambitious, but shy, and not quite sure what to make of all the attention she received on Tuesday. She said she didn't even expect the president to read her letter, let alone talk about it to the rest of the country.
Obama stressed the importance of reaching for your dreams and helping others do the same.
"I was reminded of that idea the other day when I read a letter from Tamerria Robinson, a 12-year old girl in Georgia. She told me about how hard she works, and about all the community service she does with her brother. And she wrote, "I try to achieve my dreams and help others do the same," the president said. "That," she wrote, "is how the world should work."
Tamerria said she was excited to hear the president say her name. "I was just happy inside, I didn't show it much but I was jumping around inside," she confessed.
The president also stressed the importance of teachers, parents and students working hand-in-hand. It was obvious Tamerria has that kind of support.
"I am just extremely proud of my daughter Tamerria for her accomplishments and the things she dreams about. She never puts limitations on herself she believes that anything out there she can accomplish," said Tomorris Robinson, Tamarria's father.
The president's reading of her letter on television is just the start.
Tamerria said didn't know the president was going to include her in his speech until yesterday, when her mom got a call from the White House. Now Tamerria said she wishes she would have saved a copy of that letter.
To read the President's entire speech click here.