Players, coaches, cheerleaders and other members of the Archmere community traveled to Washington, D.C. on the afternoon of July 4th to meet with President Biden. The Auks filled two buses for the two hour ride to Washington, arriving around 5:00 p.m., where they met with Secret Service before entering the White House.
Archmere junior Nate Morda told the Dialog about one special highlight that the White House had put together for them: the traditional "Hail to the Chief" fanfare for Biden's entry was switched to a more meaningful song for the Archmere team. “While waiting for the President, White House musicians started to play ‘Shipping Up to Boston’, which is our walk-out song for football. We all had goosebumps and chills, it was absurd. I couldn't believe what was happening; I saw the President walk out and thought, that was something, but to hear 'Shipping Up to Boston' as his walk-out song, when it's our walk-out song, I can't put it into words."
President Joe Biden welcomed the group to the White House in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, where the team chatted with the President and took a group photo. He was joined by two other Archmere graduates, his son Hunter, class of 1988, and daughter Ashley, class of 1999. President Biden spent time joking and laughing with the group, even trying on Conor Udovich’s Championship Ring.
The team, coaches, and cheerleaders presented President Biden with a framed “Number 30” Archmere jersey, and Nate Morda added that Biden's remarks focused on how they can be leaders in an ever-changing world. "It was more than just about football, it was trying to take the lessons that we learned from the game into life with us."
After the meet-and-greet in the Eisenhower Executive room, the team was invited to tour the White House, including additional small group photos in the Oval Office with the President, before attending the Fourth of July party where they enjoyed food, music by artists such as Andy Grammar, and a fireworks show.
According to the News Journal, Archmere quarterback Chris Albero had “really high expectations” going into the football team’s visit to the White House. When it actually happened – on July Fourth of all days – it was even greater than the All-State quarterback had imagined.
“I was just in shock,” Albero said. “If I could choose one word to sum up the trip, it was just shock. Constantly, it was just incredible things.”
Head Coach John Bellace told the News Journal that he believes Biden – a halfback and receiver on an 8-0 Auks team during his senior season in 1960 – had as much fun as the players. “It was a great experience for us, but I also think it was a nice break from everything for him to connect with his old school and talk some football.”
Bellace also added that the day was a special way to end the 2021 season, particularly for the seniors, who were able to celebrate together one last time before heading off to college. The returning players, he said, have “been ready since the spring to move on and get ready for 2022. They’ve done a good job of staying balanced and motivated.”
This motivated Archmere football team has their goals set on another White House invite. According to the team, they plan on repeating that State Championship win this fall, earning another invite back to the White House next Fourth of July.
Many news outlets covered the visit: