Presidential ArrivalMount St. Mary Academy sophomore and aspiring journalist Rebecca Brandel enjoyed the experience of her young life on Thursday. She and her journalism teacher, Tim O’Shei, covered the arrival of President Obama on the tarmac at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

Brandel and O’Shei received White House Press Pool media credentials and were stationed with a crowd of regional, national and international reporters.

“The whole experience was incredible,” Brandel said. “From receiving my official press pass, to watching how security teams swept the landing site, to the actual arrival of President Obama – the excitement in the air was just amazing.”

Brandel will be reporting her experiences for “Live…Starring You,” a media and education organization started by O’Shei, a veteran journalist and teacher at Mount St. Mary.

“I’m so proud of Rebecca,” O’Shei explained. “She was credentialed as a regular, professional member of the media and conducted herself like one. I can’t wait to work with her on this story.”

Brandel says she will remember the moment she saw President Barack Obama exit Air Force One for the rest of her life, and she values the opportunity she had Thursday morning.

But just as important for this high school student is the direction the experience gave her for her future.

“After everything I did and saw, I know that journalism is what I want to pursue for my career,” she said. “I would love to do this for the rest of my life.” 

Mount St. Mary Academy and “Live…Starring You!” have partnered to develop students’ writing and reporting skills. Students in the school’s journalism and Academy Scholars Honors Program have had opportunities to interview celebrities and create on-camera or written stories about their experiences.  

To learn more, visit or, where Brandel’s story will appear.

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