Students from Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology and William Ramsay Elementary School rolled eggs down the South Lawn of the White House on Monday as part of the White House Easter Egg Roll.
They used wooden spoons to race their colored hard boiled eggs down the gentle slope to a backdrop of cheering teachers and music by well-known bands. Just ahead of the starting whistle, however, all eyes looked up as the First Family’s two dogs Bo and Sunny bounded across the lawn of the West Wing. The Portuguese Water Dogs were on a leash held by a member of the president’s security team.
“The children couldn’t believe it. That was a really fun thing to see and completely unexpected. They were really excited to see the dogs run across the lawn and everyone just stopped and stared,” said Cora Kelly Assistant Principal Tanisha Martin. “Everything at the Easter Egg Roll was so special that right from the start when they got temporary tattoos to the final egg dyeing activity it was a fun experience that these children will probably never forget.”
The students were among 35,000 children, their parents, teachers, musical performers and celebrity guests invited to the day-long event hosted by President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. In addition to the egg roll, children could take part in an egg hunt, egg dying and egg crafts and listen to music by Doug E. Fresh and girl group Fifth Harmony.
Students also got to watch TV hosts Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan of Live! with Kelly and Michael broadcast their show from the White House while they were there. Unfortunately, their timed wrist bands meant they were ushered out minutes before the President and first lady came out onto the lawn.
This year’s theme for the 137th egg roll is #GimmeFive, challenging Americans to make five healthy lifestyle changes. It’s part of the fifth anniversary celebration for the First Lady’s “Let’s Move!” campaign. Activity and exercise stations were set up across the South Lawn featuring hands-on training with professional athletes and healthy cooking demonstrations from celebrity chefs, such as Bobby Flay and Gail Simmons.
“The students had a fantastic time. It was a great opportunity for them. We learned how to make new inventions, dyed eggs, saw magic and famous people,” said William Ramsay counselor Wanda Weaver who accompanied fifth-grade students from the school.
The White House egg roll dates to the 1800s, when local children would roll eggs down the Capitol Hill grounds the Monday after Easter. Annoyed by the growing crowds, Congress passed an act banning the event. In 1878, children asked President Rutherford B. Hayes to host the egg roll in his backyard. Since then, it has become the largest annual event held at the White House.
View more photos from the event on Facebook.