Bexley News

Interview a highlight for McDow

Magazine gives Bexley sixth-grader a trip to remember


When Maggie McDow was asked by Highlights magazine to interview First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, as part of the inauguration festivities this month, she never realized the media attention she would receive back home.

Not that McDow, a sixth-grader at Cassingham Elementary School in Bexley, minded it. But she said she's now ready to return to a "normal" life -- whatever that might be.

"No one is really normal," she joked as she sat down in a Cassingham conference room for her umpteenth interview since her experience.

One week before the 2013 Inauguration Ceremonies in Washington, D.C., McDow learned she had been selected by her school and Highlights to participate in a small-group interview with Obama and Biden.

At first, McDow said things were pretty tentative, so she had to keep her excitement contained -- somewhat.

"I had to tell a few people though," she laughed, "I was so excited and I couldn't hold it in."

By the end of the week, on Jan. 18, the interview was a go so she packed her bags and hopped on a plane with her father and headed for the White House.

After a tour of the monuments and a stop at the New York Times offices in Washington, D.C., where a family friend worked, she got dressed and headed out for her star interview. Armed with 10 to 15 questions that both she and her classmates had prepared, she waited in the East Wing for Obama and Biden to arrive.

"There were four kid reporters and we had never seen each other until we walked into the room," McDow said. "I was a little bit nervous but I kept telling myself, 'They're just somebody's mom and grandmother. It'll be O.K. I can handle this'."

McDow said she was able to ask three questions, all revolving around life at the White House.

"The thing that struck me the most was how Mrs. Obama's biggest accomplishment of the first term was taking care of her daughters," said McDow.

In fact, trying to keep things as normal as possible for Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11, is a real challenge. But in doing so, both girls are responsible for making their own beds each morning and keeping their rooms clean, McDow said.

That's a challenge she clearly understands. McDow's mother is a doctor and her father is an east African historian which has taken them to Africa to live many times, along with other areas across the U.S. She moved to Bexley a little more than a year ago, her parents buying a house for the very first time.

McDow likes it in Bexley, and hopes to stay there for awhile.

"I think this was really amazing but I'm hoping it wasn't the best experience I'll have in my lifetime," McDow said of the interview, smiling. "Because, I mean, for my life to peak at the age of 12 would kind of stink."

It is an experience she cherishes though, and is working on her story to be published in Highlights magazine in an upcoming issue. While she enjoys writing, McDow said she actually hopes to be a teacher someday.

"The interview went great," she concluded, beaming. "They said it was the best interview they had -- all year."