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Texan’s electric car impresses Obama at White House Science Fair

President Obama talks with Deidre Carillo, 18, of San Antonio, on Tuesday at the White House Science Fair, where she was showing off her electric car in the State Dining Room. (AP/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON — Three years ago, Juan Ramos moved to the United States from El Salvador with almost no grasp of English. On Tuesday, he and a schoolmate from MacArthur High School in Irving basked in praise from the president at the White House Science Fair.

“One of the factors that pushed me to learn the language and encouraged me to go above and beyond was that I knew that my family had gone through really difficult situations back there,” Juan said. “I had been given this opportunity that not many people are given.”

Obama honored more than 100 students Tuesday for achievements in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In a speech, he told them they were even more impressive than the parade of championship athletes routinely brought to the White House.

“What’s being done by these amazing young people who I had a chance to meet is even more important, and I’m a big sports fan,” the president said. “Superstar biologists and engineers and rocket scientists and robot-builders, they don’t always get the attention that they deserve, but they’re what’s going to transform our society,” the president said.

Juan, 17, met his science fair partner, Amena Jamali, 16, by chance in an entrepreneurship class two years ago. Juan overheard Amena chatting with their teacher about community involvement and chimed in. A friendship was born, one that ultimately blossomed into their educational software company, JJ New World.
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