WEST ORANGE, NJ — Four West Orange High School students had the experience of a lifetime in September when they met Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey at Hearst Tower, headquarters of “O,” the Oprah Magazine.
Obama was to appear on a special taping of SuperSoul Conversation with Winfrey when editor-at-large Gayle King suggested the addition of surprising some high school students. The magazine invited 30 female high school leaders from three nonprofit N.Y. and N.J. organizations — Harlem Children’s Zone, Uncommon School Group and GrassROOTS SuperGirls Society — to come to headquarters and provide their perspective of politics following the midterm elections. What they did not know was that Obama and Winfrey planned to surprise the group in person.
WOHS seniors, Student Council President Selam Woldai and Health Careers Club Vice President Siddhi Modi, along with freshmen Marley Dias and Amina Anekwe, attended the event as part of the Grassroots Community Foundation. Dias and her mother, Janice Johnson, helped to form GCF; Johnson is president of the organization.
According to Arianna Davis of “O” magazine, “The high schoolers arrived on that early September morning armed with energy, notebooks and sparkly pens. Our video producer Bree Green explained to the group that cameras would be filming the day for a special election season video, and we were most interested in hearing their feedback about an interview that Oprah and Mrs. Obama had recently taped. The teens had no idea that the interview they were watching was actually being streamed live — just a few floors above them.”
As Davis began asking the students how they related to Michelle Obama’s childhood, Obama and Winfrey walked in.
Photos Courtesy of ‘O’ Magazine