"Once in a lifetime" sums up the experience a group of students from Chicago's Harper High School had this week in Washington D.C.
"We got to experience something no one else has experienced," Ta-taleisha Jones said.
Michelle Obama met with the group Wednesday in a private meeting at the White House. It was the fulfillment of a promise Obama made when she visited the Englewood school in April to speak with students about violence and overcoming challenges that have clouded their visions of the future.
"Gangs come up and if they think you're in a gang they just shoot at you," student Derricka Brownlow said. "Sometimes I feel like why invest in my future if I'll wind up dead anyway."
As the students returned home Friday, this opportunity gave them a new vision.
"We stood right in the Oval office."
"We got to taste the fresh fruit and vegetables that she planted herself," Jones said. "It was actually good."
Besides the president and first lady, the students say the presidential staff also opened their eyes to a world of possibility.
"I want to join the Secret Service," Charles Hallman said. "That was a great experience for me. I got to talk to them and ask them about their experience. They said they never imagined they'd be there."
"Since I met the President and Michelle Obama, I know that it's not hard to make something with your life," Rocky Lane said.
That message was echoed Friday by Mayor Rahm Emanuel who stopped by to welcome the students home.
"The city has high hopes for you," Emanuel said.
Even higher is the new hope they now have for themselves.
"It doesn't matter where you came from it's about where you're going to go," Malik Cook-Rey said.