President Barack Obama met with 13-year-old student Vidal Chastanet and his principal, Nadia Lopez, at the White House on Thursday.
Chastanet, who attends Mott Hall Bridges Academy in the Browsnville section of Brooklyn, New York, appeared on the popular photography site "Humans of New York" in January, where he opened up about Lopez's influence in his life:
After seeing how many people on Facebook were inspired by Chastanet's comments, Brandon Stanton, the photographer who runs "Humans of New York," started an Indiegogo campaign to raise money to help the kids of Mott Hall Bridges Academy visit Harvard University. The campaign raised over $1.2 million, enough to not only send the students to Harvard, but also to support summer programs and start a scholarship fund for graduates of Mott Hall Bridges Academy. Chastanet will be the first scholarship recipient.
After hearing Chastanet and Lopez's story, Obama invited them to the White House. Stanton, who also went to the White House, posted the following photo from the visit:
On January 19th, I met a young man on the street named Vidal, and I asked him to tell me about the person who had influenced him the most in his life. He told me about his principal, Ms. Lopez, and he explained how she had taught him that he mattered. Over the next two weeks, I learned the story of Ms. Lopez and her school, Mott Hall Bridges Academy. By hearing the stories of MHBA students and educators, my eyes were opened to the unique challenges facing a school in an under-served community. Ms. Lopez taught me that before a student is ready for academic training, they must be made to understand that they deserve success. And that can be the hardest battle in education. Ms. Lopez always said that there was no place her students did not belong. Recently we received an invitation that proved just that.
Below, another photo from White House photographer Pete Souza:
Stanton posted another photo from the meeting to the "Humans of New York" Facebook page on Friday:
This post has been updated with more photos from Stanton.