U.Va. Student Meets President Bush at White House Hanukkah Reception

December 20, 2006

Dec. 20, 2006 -- University of Virginia student Maya Pick met President George W. Bush on Monday morning as part of a group of Jewish college students and higher education leaders who spoke with Bush and U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings about higher education issues. Meeting the President “was awesome,” said Pick, who noted that, after the meeting, the group had their pictures taken with the President in front of his desk in the Oval Office.

After the Monday morning meeting with Bush, when Pick shook hands with the President, she returned to the White House that evening for the annual White House Hanukkah Reception dinner along with her mother and approximately 500 other guests. The President and First Lady Laura Bush greeted and posed for a photo with each guest in the receiving line.  Standing in line with her mother, Pick assumed that she would need to reintroduce herself to the President, but, to her mother’s delight, he remembered Maya’s name and background and told her mother how she had done a great job that morning. Mom “was just beaming the whole time,” Pick said.

Pick is a second-year student at the University of Virginia who plans to major in women’s studies and earn a master’s degree in education from the U.Va. Curry School of Education. A resident of Annandale, Virginia, she graduated from Jeb Stuart High School in May 2005. In the spring of 2006, she traveled to Biloxi, Mississippi, to work with the Hands On Organization, gutting houses and removing debris as a result of Hurricane Katrina. She later worked with the directors of U.Va. Hillel to plan a similar trip to New Orleans in the summer of 2006. 

Hannukah, also know as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday that started this year on Dec. 15.