Barack Obama's Kalamazoo Commencement Speech: Backstage With The Star Of The Winning Video

Xavier Bolden is the star of Kalamazoo Central High School's "We Are The Giants" video, which bested entries from more than 1,000 schools and won the White House's "Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge." So Bolden was partially responsible for bringing President Barack Obama to town to give the commencement speech at Central's graduation ceremony.

And while his spoken-word performance in the video is strong, it was just another role to him. After all, he's his own harshest critic.

"To be honest, it was just another performance for me. I've been acting since I was in middle school, and here at Central, too," Bolden told MTV News. "So, yeah, it's amazing we won, and it's very humbling, but you know, I still don't like the performance that much. I guess I'm hard on myself, but I think our school is about a lot more than just me doing some slam poetry. But, hey, I'm happy we won!"

And as an added bonus to that victory, Bolden and his fellow Central seniors were also treated to a surprise meet-and-greet with Obama before the actual commencement ceremony — a moment he said he'll never forget.

"I had no idea. I was actually filming some of it and I looked underneath the curtain, and I was like 'Wait ... that's got to be Obama. Look at the shoes! From the ankles down, that's him,'" Bolden laughed. "Still when he came out I was shocked! It was electrifying. Amazing. Everybody was screaming. Nobody was forming sentences."

In the fall, the humble Bolden will attend Western Michigan University, where he hopes to major in theater performance. Inspired by something Obama said in the commencement speech, Bolden isn't stopping there, either.

"This summer, I'm going to be in California starting extra work in movies and hopefully finding an agent," he said. "My ultimate dream is to get a feature role in a film. I hope to make that happen."


Don't miss Simon Boehme's and Nicole Allen's videos about President Obama's visit to Kalamazoo!

Get Schooled is a national program aimed at increasing high school and college graduation rates and promoting the importance of education, developed by Viacom in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.