10-Year-Old Girl Gets Ultimate Birthday Present From First Lady

Courtesy of Brendaliz Piñero

Aliana Arzola-Piñero is one very lucky little girl. The 10-year-old just received the birthday present of a lifetime from none other than First Lady Michelle Obama.

Arzola-Piñero was returning to her home in San Juan, Puerto Rico from a present-filled celebration on January 23, when her dad listened to a voicemail and said, "You've gotta hear this."


It was a call from the first lady's communications director and fellow Puerto Rican, Maria Cristina González Noguera, inviting Aliana to attend the State of the Union as a special guest of Michelle Obama.

"I was really excited," Aliana recalled Tuesday morning from Washington, D.C. during a phone interview. "I got really happy."

Most kids would be a little nervous at the prospect of meeting Obama, but this will actually be Aliana's second interaction with the first family.

She attended the second annual Kids' State Dinner back in July after submitting a winning recipe as part of Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative.


The White House said in a statement that "Aliana has worked hard to translate her experience visiting the White House into concrete steps to benefit her community, championing healthy eating and an active lifestyle for kids."

The young girl said it was an "honor to be chosen to represent the kids who [attended the Kids' State Dinner.]"


Aliana has never heard a State of the Union speech before, so this will be "a first for me," she said.

While she's not sure just what to expect, she'd like to hear the president talk about nutrition, she said, and "see if he can also help out Mrs. Obama to raise awareness for childhood obesity and to make a difference."


Aliana will spend her day inside ("It's really cold!" she exclaimed.) getting ready for this evening. She's set to arrive at the White House around 5 p.m. for a tour and some photos - standard fare for this old-timer - and then it'll be off to the Capitol with the other guests.

Her parents won't get to make the two mile trip to Capitol Hill, but their seats won't be too shabby, either. Aliana's mother, Brendaliz, said she and her husband have been told they will be able to watch the president speak from the White House theater.


"What an honor," Brendaliz said. "What a magnificent birthday present."

Emily DeRuy is a Washington, D.C.-based associate editor, covering education, reproductive rights, and inequality. A San Francisco native, she enjoys Giants baseball and misses Philz terribly.

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