Paula Ebben Invited For One-On-One Interview With First LadyBy Paula Ebben

BOSTON (CBS) – Five enthusiastic students from the Arthur D. Healey School in Somerville embark on the Class Trip of a lifetime Thursday morning as they head to The White House to help First Lady Michelle Obama plant her annual kitchen garden.

I have the privilege of joining the students on their trip, as the only reporter from Boston invited to the event. Afterwards, I’ll be able to sit down for a one-on-one interview with the First Lady.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Rod Fritz spoke with Paula before her interview

The students’ invitation is a bit of a mystery. They didn’t write essays, apply or lobby to go. They’re great kids and they can’t wait to head to D.C.

The five fifth-grade students from the Arthur D. Healey School who will be attending are:
• Ariana Docanto
• Gabriela Lopez Arias
• Brian Chan
• Lana Popovic
• Sarah Sweeting

Traveling with the students:
• Susana Hernandez Morgan
• Dr. Vince McKay, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment

Maybe it’s because the President and First Lady have a soft spot for Boston – the site of the 2004 DNC.  Maybe it’s because the President once lived in a student apartment in Somerville while he attended Harvard Law School (and has the paid parking tickets to prove it!)

Maybe the Obamas just love the way Mayor Menino says ‘Summahvulle.’

But it’s more than likely because the Somerville Schools have been at the forefront of healthy initiatives for years. Their annual Corn Shucking event was noticed and written about in the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” blog. They’ve also worked on The Healey Garden at school.

Somerville’s made a lot of progress with the help of programs like “Shape Up Somerville” (inspiration for “Let’s Move” perhaps?) and GroundWorkSomerville.

How funny to think about what the early Colonists or Martha Washington would say if they were told that someday a group of American children would be celebrated for learning how to plant and grow a garden!

I’m one of four lucky reporters from across the country who’ve been invited to attend the event in The White House garden and then stay for a one-on-one interview with the First Lady.

The goal of her “Let’s Move” initiative is to try to solve the problem of childhood obesity in a generation. Ambitious – yes. Unrealistic? That remains to be seen. But I don’t know a parent who doesn’t acknowledge this is a major health problem for our children – now and down the road.

You’ll see my reports from the White House on WBZ-TV News at 5,6, and 11 p.m. on Thursday.

Time is limited, but I’d love to approach Michelle Obama armed with some questions from our viewers. Please let me know what you’d like to hear about. Leave your questions in the Comments section below.


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