WASHINGTON DC (WUSA) --- Lesly Alvarez is an outstanding eighth-grade student who got a ticket to the State of the Union Address.
Alvarez was invited by the House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who has co-introduced legislation to keep alive the Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), a scholarship for low-income families in the District.
Alvarez attends Sacred Heart School, a private Catholic school in Mount Pleasant where 100% of eighth-graders graduate on-time during the past three years.
Sacred Heart is one of four schools within the Consortium of Catholic Academies that serves low-income families. Without the OSP scholarship, Alvarez would not be able to attend the private school that charges around $8,100 per child.
However, the OSP fund has been phased out for this school year by the government, so new students could not apply.
Speaker Boehner is trying to renew the scholarship program.
"It was amazing, like there's not words to describe how I felt," says Alvarez on meeting the House Speaker in person. She says she also loved the view as she sat inside Capitol Hill during the speech.
"I always try my best in my studies. If I don't understand something, I stay after school if I have to," Alvarez says. She also says she enjoys her social studies classes.
Her mother, Eva Alvarez, also attended the event and says the Speaker gave a warm reception that made her feel like she was part of a family.
Eva says her daughter knows the importance of striving for success.
"If they want something in life, they have to work for it," she says. She says the OSP was a great opportunity for not only her daughter but also her son who is now enrolled in college.
The mother and daughter returned from the State of the Union Address with a bag full of mementos including a pin that the Congressman from Ohio wore when he was named Speaker of the House.
"The thing that really astonished me the most was that he was very compassionate and really believed in what he was saying...and we believed it," says Lisa Rowe, the Vice Principal of Sacred Heart who also got invited.
Alvarez thanks the Speaker for a chance of a lifetime.
"I just said thank you for having us here and thank you for just trying to keep the scholarship going."
Alvarez has been accepted to Archbishop Carroll High School on a Principal's scholarship, a full-tuition scholarship.
Written by Elizabeth Jia
9NEWS NOW & WUSA9.com