Once in a lifetime opportunity



NOT many people can say they have met a world leader, let alone a former US President.

Newborough’s Lowanna College principal Adam Hogan, can now say just that, as he had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet President Barack Obama on Wednesday, March 29.

“I would describe it as surreal,” Mr Hogan said.

“He was so warm, friendly and just genuine that you sort of fell into a conversation pretty quickly.”

Mr Hogan was invited by the event organisers at the Australian Council of Educational Leaders of which Mr Hogan is a member, to attend the event titled ‘an evening with President Obama’ at John Cain Arena in Melbourne.

The former federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, hosted the event, to a full stadium of onlookers.

Mr Hogan was initially quite mesmerised at the thought of sharing the same space with the famous US leader.

“It was quite incredible. I looked over to the audience a couple of times and he just had everyone encapsulated for the duration,” he said.

Mr Hogan added: “I think he’s a phenomenal leader and we’re not likely to see a leader of this calibre with his intelligence, vision and humility again in our lifetime.”

President Obama was known as a leader for his warmth and charisma.

“As I sort of approached him, he asked my name he had his hand out to his side and it was one of those big handshakes like you can tell he was ready to shake your hand,” Mr Hogan said.

President Obama made a bit of a joke upon introduction to the Lowanna principal, saying how principals nowadays are getting younger.

President Obama and Mr Hogan were able to discuss the integral role that education plays today as society continues to change.

Some of President Obama’s key messages that Mr Hogan took were that leadership is like a relay race and no one leader can do it all during their tenure, but it is across generations that we work towards a better vision and a better future for humanity.

The former president touched on all aspects of his own career from the tragedy of the Sandy Hook massacre to the implementation of Obama Care and even the Paris Accord.

At the event, the President focused on the challenges of leadership, the role of democracy and the hope he has for the future.

Regarding the youth of today, President Obama said not to worry too much about what you want to be, rather think about what you want to do… what positive impact you want to have, and let that guide you. It will serve both you and the world, better in the long run.

Mr Hogan hopes to pass on the wisdom and knowledge of the former president at the next Lowanna whole school assembly in Term 2.

When asked if his admiration of President Obama indicated a possible future in political leadership, Mr Hogan said: “I don’t think so, I love leadership but mostly supporting people and making a difference, particularly in education.”

To simply be in the same room as the former President, Mr Hogan had to sign an agreement and undergo security screening, background checks, health checks and a COVID-19 test.

One of Mr Hogan’s life highlights, the principal will frame the photo capturing the moment he met President Barack Obama, with plans to hang it right next to his four degrees.

President Obama was the 44th president of the United States of America, serving eight years in office.

The Express’ own Les Hogan was one proud mother when she saw this photo.