White House Invites Philly Teen to State of the Union

It seemed like a crushing missed opportunity. Brandon Ford, a 16-year-old Junior at West Philadelphia High School had visited Washington D.C. last fall along with several of his classmates.

The students had worked on a fuel-efficient electric hybrid and were finalists in a global car competition known as X-Prize. When they arrived, the students found out that they had the chance to meet President Barack Obama. But for Brandon, there was one big problem.

“I forgot my ID,” said Brandon. “I couldn’t get in the White House.”


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Brandon’s classmates were able to watch as Obama recognized the school’s achievements. Brandon meanwhile had to wait outside and was told that the White House would stay in touch.

Brandon never gave up hope however and just last week he received a phone call inviting him to a very special event: the State of the Union.

“He told me that you have been cordially invited to the White House to see the speech and sit next to Michelle Obama,” said Brandon.

This time Brandon is sure to have his ID on hand.

His hardwork and dedication to the West Philly Hybrid X Team were lauded in an official White House release:

"Brandon is a dedicated and hard working team member; for example, last week he worked with the team Tuesday, Thursday, all day Saturday, and then on Sunday participated with the team in a MLK Day of Service activity."

West Philadelphia High School Principal John Chapman couldn’t be any prouder of his student’s achievement.

“This is emotional for you when you call them your kids,” said Chapman while fighting back tears.

“You see me about to cry and anybody who knows me doesn't see this often.”

Brandon is all smiles however, knowing that he got the second chance of a lifetime.

“It’s an honor that I get to meet the president,” said Brandon.

“I’m overwhelmed.”

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