When he was crowned Homecoming King, WCHS senior Grant Hitchcock didn't realize he would get to meet our nation's top leader.
It was actually Hitchcock's role as Tennessee 4-H president that earned him a meeting with the President of the United States.
Hitchcock was selected to greet President Donald Trump as he stepped off Air Force One during his Monday visit to Nashville.
“I shook his hand and introduced myself as Tennessee 4-H Council president,” said Hitchcock. “It was short, but it was nice. It didn’t dawn on me how real it was until he came off Air Force One. I was nervous but excited at the same time.”
The state 4-H and FFA presidents were picked to meet Mr. Trump.
“This started about three weeks ago when I got a call from the White House indicating they really wanted to promote youth agriculture during the president’s trip,” said Justin Crowe, 4-H extension specialist with the University of Tennessee.
Continued Crowe, “It started with 12 students and kept growing. By the end, they said they wanted 25 students and wanted one of them to greet the president when he came off the plane.”
Crowe said three Warren County students were selected to attend because they are on the State 4-H Council. Caroline Brooks made the trip, but Emily Pennington was unable to at-tend.
“In my 10 years with state 4-H, we’ve never had a 4-H’er meet a president,” said Crowe. “I’m beyond proud of Grant and beyond excited for him.”
As a side note, Grant’s younger brother Ethan was able to accompany him to Nashville because school was canceled Monday. Even though Ethan was confined to an area with the general crowd, President Trump saw him and by coincidence walked over to shake his hand.
Other local 4-H students who attended the conference and listened to President Trump are Blake Waldron, Will Prater, Meghan Madewell, and Jacob Scott.
President Trump was in Nashville to speak at the annual American Farm Bureau Federa-tion convention. Mr. Trump became the first president in a quarter-century to address the federation's convention, using the trip as a backdrop for a White House report that includ-ed proposals to stimulate a segment of the national economy that has lagged behind others.
Joined by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and a group of Tennessee lawmakers, Trump said most of the benefits of tax reform legislation are “going to working families, small businesses, and who? — the family farmer.”
The package Trump signed into law last month provides generous tax cuts for corpora-tions and the wealthiest Americans, and more modest reductions for middle- and low-income individuals and families.
Trump also called on Congress to renew the farm bill this year, adding he supports provid-ing federal crop insurance. The massive federal legislation funds federal agriculture and food policy, and it offers assistance to rural communities.
Crowe said 20 Tennessee 4-H students and five chaperones were in VIP seating, rows 1-5, during the president’s speech. He said there were an estimated 7,000 people in attendance.
From Nashville, Trump traveled to Atlanta to watch Alabama play Georgia for the college football national championship. The game was played in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the new $1.5 billion home field of the Atlanta Falcons and won by Alabama in OT.
Before departing for the game, Trump referenced his ongoing defense of the American flag and the national anthem, saying there was enough space for to people to express their views. "We love our flag and we love our anthem and we want to keep it that way," he said.
The president was greeted by cheers and a smattering of boos when he took the field in At-lanta, escorted by ROTC members. With his hand over his heart and an American flag pin on his lapel, Trump sang a few words as Georgia's Zac Brown Band and a gospel choir performed the anthem.
Trump left the game at halftime to return to the White House.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.