On Monday, Masterman's halls were overrun with Secret Service officers, White House advance staff and Philadelphia School District maintenance people, and Tamika was attempting to remain calm.
Once, she and her grandmother, who is raising her, waited for four hours only to catch a glimpse of the back of then-candidate Obama's head at a rally.
But this is the real deal, said Tamika, who lives in Northwest Philadelphia and has considered a career as a Supreme Court justice but confesses to being afraid of law school.
She knows the most she'll be able to do is shake Obama's hand, but if she did get five minutes with him, she would say, "I'm glad that you're trying to make an effort to fix the economy and the recession," she said.
White House staffers descended on the school on Thursday, when the district got two pieces of good news - Masterman, at 17th and Spring Garden in Center City, is a 2010 national Blue Ribbon school, and the president is speaking there. Principal Marjorie Neff gave up her two-day school holiday to help start preparations.
But it took a little convincing.
"For about two minutes, I was concerned that this was an elaborate scam or hoax," said Neff, who's been principal of the school for fifth- through 12th-graders for five years.
Now solidly certain that the visit is indeed happening, Neff and her staff had to figure out how 600 of the school's 1,200 students would be chosen to sit in the auditorium for the speech.
They decided that homerooms from each grade would be randomly selected to attend the event, as would staffers. Everyone else will watch in their classrooms via live Web stream.
Neff has also had to field quite a few phone calls from "anyone with any connection to the school, who wants to know, 'Can I be invited?'" (The answer: a polite no.)
No one told her why Masterman was chosen by the White House, but Neff has a hunch.
"If I were going to look for a school that represents the diversity of our nation and high expectations for students, I'd pick Masterman," the principal said.
The school is racially and economically diverse - 44 percent of students are white, 29 percent are African American, 18 percent are Asian, and 6 percent are Latino. Forty-four percent of students live in poverty.
Spots are tough to come by - roughly 10 applications are received for each of the 165 seats in each Masterman fifth grade class. Students must have high grades and test scores and good behavior to be considered for admission.
This is Kelly Ca's eighth year at Masterman. A senior and the student government president, she will introduce Obama during "the two most important minutes of my life," she said Monday.
Kelly, who lives in Southwest Philadelphia, is keenly aware of the advantages she has going to a school that consistently ranks tops in Pennsylvania on state exams and among the best 100 high schools in the country.
She knows that a diploma from Masterman will help her reach her goal of going to the University of Pennsylvania or Harvard University, of becoming a doctor. It's the least she can do for her parents, immigrants from Vietnam and Cambodia who scrimp so their daughters can get top-notch educations, Kelly said.
"Everything we have here is a gift," Kelly said of Masterman. "It's an amenity that some other students don't get."
Meeting the president is a pretty big gift too, Kelly said, and she's ready.
Her speech is written, and she's fielded lots of advice from her mother about how to stand, where to put her hands, how to pace herself.
"It's almost unreal," Kelly said. "I feel very lucky to be here."
Contact staff writer Kristen Graham at 215-854-5146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.