… for that gala last night

I am still floating on cloud nine thanks to the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to greet the President of the United States and be in a picture with my childhood hero Michelle Kwan!

DC, in addition to being our nation’s capital and an all-around striking city with its monuments and memorials, is also home to inspiring organizations like the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies. APAICS, a national non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting Asian Pacific American participation and representation at all levels of the political process, from community service to elected office, hosted its 18th Annual Gala Awards Dinner. The gala brought together a phenomenal group of Asian Pacific American politicians such as Norman Mineta, Judy Chu, Mike Honda, and Madeleine Bordallo, successful business leaders, and community members. It was a true thrill to be in the room.

At 6PM, the packed room bursted into cheers as President Barack Obama took the stage! I could not believe my eyes and was transfixed as he spoke about the accomplishments of the Asian Pacific American community, a community I am so proud to be a part of. Following his speech, he unexpectedly started greeting people at the front of the room. I managed to find myself in the right spot and was able to shake his hand! To be quite honest, I almost fainted. It was a dream come true!

Beforehand, I had helped with registration. The guest list of 1,000 meant that the line needed to move very quickly and efficiently, so my head was down when I said to one lady, “Welcome to the APAICS Gala! What is your last name?” When she said Kwan, I looked through the list for her last name. Once I found it, I told her the table she would be seated at, looked up, and saw that the lady I had just registered was none other but Michelle Kwan! I completely lost my filter and immediately said, “You’re my childhood hero!” She graciously said thank you and also agreed to take a picture with me after the evening’s program ended.

What a night to remember! In addition to greeting President Obama and taking a picture with Michelle Kwan, I also had the opportunity to make new friends and see the former fellow interns and mentors whose friendship helped me fall in love with DC when I first came for a summer internship in 2009.

On a final note, I must say a huge thank you to the incredible Teri Galvez, the Executive Director of the Miss DC Organization. In addition to her many philanthropic involvements, including the Miss DC Organization, she is a very successful event planner and managed to skillfully execute APAICS’ 1,000-person Gala! Thanks to her kind invitation, my fellow Miss DC finalists and I were able to attend!

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