Posted on April 26th 2016

CCC students meet US President Barack Obama

Sixth form students from Cranford Community College were among a select audience of 500 young people addressed by the US president at a town hall meeting in Westminster on Saturday 23rd April 2016.

He told the potential leaders of the future assembled in that room to "reject pessimism, cynicism and know that progress is possible".

Navneet Arura, Zahra Butt, Ali Aweis, Ubaid Rizvi and Nabila Hiyati - all sixth formers at Cranford Community College - were seated in the front row as the president delivered his message.

They got the chance to shake hands with Obama after he urged them to learn the art of compromise by seeking out those who don't share their views.

'Impressed by president's responses on gender equality'barack obama image 2

Ali Aweis said: "I was fascinated by the way the president used body language to emphasise the points he made. His message was one of hope and to reject cynicism. I was inspired by his comments that change only comes about with struggle and discipline."

Navneet Arura said: "The president came across as incredibly charismatic and as a man of genuine integrity. He gave very good answers on a wide range of topics but it was his responses in favour of gender equality which particularly impressed me."

The school was invited by the US ambassador to select five of its young leaders for the privilege of a private meeting with the president.

School's 'special relationship' with the US

It has its own "special relationship" with the US, which has seen students given the chance to meet the ambassador at the embassy, in his home and during a visit to the school .

On Monday 25th April 2016, 15 "young leaders" from the school met the ambassador again to follow up the points raised at the president's town hall meeting.

Executive headteacher Kevin Prunty said:

The five young leaders will remember this exceptional opportunity for the rest of their lives and we believe these types of opportunities will motivate and inspire our students, as well as significantly enhancing their future prospects

In the past year alone, many students have met the US Ambassador when he visited Cranford Community College, at the embassy and in his home. Staff and students attended a celebrity packed reception for the US rugby team at the US Ambassador’s residence plus numerous diplomatic events at the US Embassy with other Ambassadors from across the world, worked with Matthew Barzun, US Ambassador to develop his ‘Schools Talk’ programme and one of Cranford’s star students gained the prestigious Fulbright scholarship following intense international competition. 

15 Cranford Young Leaders met  with the Ambassador again this evening to follow up the points raised at the President’s ‘Town Hall’ meeting. The first 8 points made to the Ambassador were from Cranford students and 11 of the 15 students gave their views to the Ambassador.

Kevin Prunty, Executive Headteacher added, “Our partnership with the US Embassy has generated some truly amazing experiences and opportunities for Cranford students but, I suspect, it will be hard to beat this impressive and rare event. In particular, these opportunities are so important in helping young people develop vital modern life skills like networking, integrity, political awareness, civic engagement and self-confidence, all of which I believe are essential to succeed in a dynamic world and global economy.”

The President urged young people to reject pessimism and cynicism, to believe that progress is always possible and that difficult problems can be solved but that sometimes it is necessary to take a longer view of history and be satisfied with moving something forward so that others can take it further. He also warned that if you just spend time with people who just agree with you, you become even more extreme in your convictions, suggesting the benefits of seeking out people who don't agree with you so that you learn to compromise, adding "Compromise does not mean surrendering what you believe."

Click here to view CNN news item on Barack Obamas visit


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