Tiffany Harris plans to graduate in May from Onondaga Community College with a degree in Criminal Justice. She smiles when she acknowledges she would one day like to be one of the police officers protecting the President of the United States. Tiffany understands the importance of education, but she wants her 10 year old son Julius to hear it directly from President Obama. That is why she waited in line for hours for tickets to the big event.
"When I found out I was so excited I was running around the place jumping," says Julius Harris. "It's like this is the big day. It's the first time me meeting an African American president. I know all the other presidents, but I've never met them in person."
"He's speaking on education. That's important for Julius to hear directly from the President on how important it is to get an education. He needs to be there to listen to that." The sense of history that comes with this presidential visit is also important to Tiffany with regard to her son, "He's the first African-American president, I want him to be part of that history."
Julius is about to start the 4th grade at Edward Smith School in Syracuse. His mother is thrilled that he will have quite a story to share when he returns to class in a couple of weeks. "He's really excited to see him in person," she said.
"He's really great, he really looks up to everybody and I respect that. If he looks up to us, I'll look up to him. It really makes me happy that he looks up to us," says Julius.
Tiffany's younger son, so far, is telling his mother he does not want to go. So Tiffany is holding on to an extra ticket. If she does not find another friend or family member before tomorrow she plans to bring the extra ticket to Henninger High School to give to someone else who might need it.
Just as she did two days ago, she plans to get there hours before the doors open at 3:00 pm. Now that she knows Julius and she are getting into the gym, she wants to make sure they are up close for this historic moment with President Barack Obama.
"I would like him to know about the struggles that African American have been through. It took a lot for Obama to get to where he's at," says Tiffany Harris.