Bill Greene/Globe Staff
At the TechBoston Academy in Dorchester today, President Obama visited a biotechnology class, where 20 students waited in giddy anticipation. As the teacher, James Louis, spoke to the class, an unmistakable voice was heard.
“Mr. Louis!” Obama said as he entered the room. Some students seemed ready to cry with excitement, and a few buried their heads in their hands.
Accompanied by philanthropist Melinda Gates, Obama went table to table talking to the students. He asked them what they planned to study in college and offered words of encouragement.
“You guys are doing great,” he told one group. “I’m really proud of you.”
Impressed with the scientific interests of the students, Obama turned to Louis and said, "We’ve got chemists, engineers. You’re doing good.”
Leaning over one table, Obama listened as Ronny De Leon, a senior, explained how a photospectrometer works. Nodding intently, Obama told De Leon that he was following the young student’s lesson.
“I got you,” Obama told De Leon. “You’re pitching. I’m catching.”
DeLeo told Obama he was leaning toward studying biology in college, and Obama told the students he expected them all to go to college.
At another table, Obama asked the students what they wanted to study in college and what college they wanted to attend. One wanted to study architecture, one pediatrics, one pharmacy science. Obama seemed particularly impressed when Jesse Barbosa, 17, a senior from Dorchester, told him that he wanted to study mechanical engineering at Northeastern.
“We need mechanical engineers,” Obama said, as Gates nodded. “That’s really important.”
Next Obama went to a school lunchroom, where an overflow crowd of about 60 students cheered him loudly and rushed up to greet him. Obama grabbed a wireless mike and asked how many were seniors, how many were juniors, and so forth. He got the biggest cheer for sophomores.
“I expect everyone here to go college,” Obama told the group. “I expect everyone here to succeed.”
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