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The young woman who introduced the President
Buffalo, N.Y. -- A University at Buffalo student with ties to the Rochester area was chosen to introduce President Barack Obama to Western New York on Thursday.
Silvana DEttorre, an Erie County resident with family in Greece, N.Y., received a call from the Presidents staff on Tuesday inviting her to do to the introductions.
"I got a phone call Tuesday evening from the White House asking if I wanted to introduce the President, I didn't really know what to think," the U.B. Sophomore laughed.
Two days later DEttorre was backstage at U.B.s Alumni Arena meeting President Obama and watching him sign a copy of her speech before she walked to his podium and addressed thousands of her peers.
I was just so excited because I could not tell any of my friends so I was excited that they got to see me up there and have that realization like that's my friend up there," said DEttorre.
The Presidents message was aimed at the thousands of students in the arena who share a lot in common with DEttorre. She wants to go to dental school and made decisions about her undergraduate education after discussions with her family that weighed cost and debt.
"I mean I only did apply to SUNY schools because I knew it was affordable so I just wanted to stay within that budget I guess," DEttorre admitted.
"Today I'm proposing major new reforms that will shake up the current system, President Obama said to the crowd. Create better incentives for colleges to do more with less and deliver better value for students and their families."
The President pointed out that the average college student in New York will leave school with more than $25,000 in debt. Even attending in-state public colleges costs the average New York student more than $20,000 each year.
The President wants to implement a new school rating system that examines access, affordability, and outcomes. He said he wants more graduates to take advantage of another program that caps their student loan payments at 10% of their current earnings.
"Michelle and I we're only where we are today because scholarships and student loans gave us a shot at a great education," remarked the President. "We each graduated from college and law school with a mountain of debt and even though we each got good jobs we barely finished paying it off just before I was elected to the U.S. Senate."