South Georgia girl in spotlight after nod from Obama

ATLANTA -- A 12-year-old girl from south Georgia is enjoying her taste of fame after President Barack Obama mentioned her during his annual back-to-school address on Tuesday.

Tamerria Robinson of Pooler said her classmates clapped and cheered when Obama spoke about a letter she sent him last month. Tamerria wrote that her goal was to reach her dreams and help others do the same.

Obama complimented the letter, saying that ''is how the world should work.''

''Out of all the letters he gets every day, he decides to make everyone recognize mine,'' the West Chatham Middle School student said during a phone interview with The Associated Press. ''I was happy because I was like, 'Yay, everyone knows me now!'''

The seventh-grader said she decided to write to Obama this summer after doing a school project in February that asked her to talk about who inspires her. She picked the president because he succeeded despite the odds, she said.

Tamerria, whose father is a 1st sergeant stationed at Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia, said she mailed the letter last month and never expected to get a response. What she got was better than a form letter and signed photo, though.

''My classmates all come up to me and say, 'You're Tamerria Robinson! You wrote the letter to the president!'' she said. ''They're all asking me, 'What's the president's address? Do you have his e-mail address?' I'm like, 'I don't have all that. We're not best friends.'''

The speech from Philadelphia was broadcast live in many schools across the country and will be viewed by thousands of students in coming days. It focused on encouraging students to work hard, stay in school and celebrate their differences.

At the end, he talked about Tamerria and her letter.

''She wrote, 'I try to achieve my dreams and help others do the same. That,' she wrote, 'is how the world should work,''' Obama said. ''I agree with Tamerria. That is how the world should work.