Parkville Patch reader Tonika Garibaldi submitted a great photograph of President Obama as he waved to onlookers who lined Hiss Avenue. If you waited outside, but missed the moment—Tonika captures it here perfectly. Thanks, Tonika!
Talk about a whirlwind visit.
President Obama departed Parkville as quickly as he arrived. Some 50 minutes after his motorcade arrived along Hiss Avenue—with just a brief glimpse of the president waving behind his limousine's tinted windows—Obama was leaving the same way he came in.
Well, at least it was an excuse to be outside in the nearly spring-like temperatures.
The local media was not allowed inside the school, but Obama was scheduled to meet with eighth-grade science students. He was also supposed to be joined by Education Secretary Arne Duncan and his budget director. At 3 p.m., Baltimore County Public Schools officials will hold a press conference to discuss the president's brief visit.
Earlier today, Obama unveiled his $3.73 trillion budget for 2012. Part of that budget is his plan to emphasize the type of science and math curriculum practiced at Parkville Middle School and Center of Technology and new technological tools for instruction.
"Students need to master science, technology, engineering and mathematics in order to thrive in the 21st century economy, and we have seen other nations eclipse ours in preparing their children in these critical fields," according to Obama's budget document.
The budget calls for recruiting 10,000 STEM teachers over the next two years and preparing 100,000 more over the next decade. His budget includes $80 million to "expand promising and effective models of teacher preparation, which will help train effective STEM teachers," according to his budget document.
In addition, according to the document, "the budget includes $90 million for a new Advanced Research Projects Agency—Education in 2012 that would promote dramatic breakthroughs in educational technology."
As Obama arrived at Parkville Middle School just after 10 a.m., a diverse crowd of onlookers included a 10-year-old girl filled with awe and a 53-year-old unemployed woman filled with ire.
Shanyah James, 10, stood outside the school with her father, Rodney James, holding a copy of the book Yes We Can.
"He's the first African-American president," said Shanyah James, who is also African-American. "This is like a historical moment for me."
Not so for Bernadette Zgorski.
"I'm here because I'm unemployed," said Zgorski, 53, of Churchville. "It's unbelievable. It's his policies that I object to."
While most of the people outside of Parkville Middle School carried signs of support, Zgorski carried a handwritten poster that read: "We want jobs. Not Obamacare."
As President Obama's expected 10 a.m. arrival approaches, the crowd grows. More than 50 people are lining Hiss Avenue outside Parkville Middle School. Only students, faculty and school officials—and the national media—are allowed inside. Remember: You can add your photos directly to this article.
A small crowd of about 20 people gathered outside in anticipation of President Obama's visit, scheduled for around 10 a.m.
Among the onlookers were Megan McDaniel, 22, and Heather McDaniel, 24. The Parkville sisters were joined at the corner of Avondale Avenue and Hiss by their friend Christian Mabiala, 23.
The three friends held a sign that read: "Will U Be My Valentine Obama?!" They also work pink silk-screened T-shirts that featured Obama's famous Hope image. They stayed up all night making them, getting no sleep before arriving at Parkville Middle School.
Kathy Haduch, 44, and her husband, Pete, 46, dropped their son Steven off at Parkville Middle and said the seventh-grade student was upset Obama was speaking only to eighth-graders.
"He will likely miss the president today," Kathy said.
Still, she added: "It's a big honor for them to have the president here. He only goes to, like, one school per year."
Chandra Travers, who lives near the school, allowed her 8-year-old daughter, Nova Knoedler, to miss class this morning to try to catch a glimpse of the president.
Nova was carrying a poster nearly as big as her that featured a big red heart and read, "Happy Valentine's Day President Obama!"
Travers recently move to Baltimore from Alaska and is a fan of Obama.
“This is one of the things I love about Baltimore," Travers said. "You can be so close to politics. Just look at how accessible the president is. It’s been a long time since I liked a president, so, ‘Yay!'’”
Sharon Sweeney has lived in Parkville since 1957. With five vehicles, finding parking was difficult at their residence across the street from the school since roads around it were closed. Sweeney found out about the visit Friday.
"I really wish we would have had a little more notice," she said. "I would have liked to have taken off work to watch. It's the chance of a lifetime."
President Obama—as you probably know by now—is attending this morning to highlight the school's science and technology curriculum, an area the democratic president wants to emphasize in his education plans.
If you're inside the school, feel free to add your photos to this story by clicking the "add photos" button.
One of the first students to arrive at school, 15-year-old Patrick Hollingshead, said he was thrilled when he learned over the weekend that Obama was visiting. School officials had hoped to surprise the public, but instead were surprised when news of the event leaked to the media Friday afternoon.
"It's pretty cool," Hollingshead said as he walked along Hiss Avenue to school.
Stay tuned for more coverage throughout the morning.