Tucson girl to attend State of the Union

A Tucson girl is heading to Washington, D.C. to attend Tuesday night's State of the Union address.  Haile Thomas, 12, has been personally invited by Michelle Obama to sit in the First Lady's box during the address.

"When I found out I was invited, I was overly excited, and I was just blown away by the opportunity and really honored," Haile said. "I'm just extremely excited to be part of such a historical event and to represent Arizona in Washington and represent my peers."

Haile has received nationwide recognition in the past for her efforts to encourage healthy eating and activities among kids her age.  She hosts an online cooking show that promotes good nutrition, and she is involved in a number of programs that are aimed at combating childhood obesity.

The 12-year-old is a Youth Advisory Board member with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. She is Co-Founder/Director of the HAPPY Organization, an Arizona non-profit dedicated to improving the health and wellness of youth.  Haile has also spoken at several events, including the 2011 Partnership for a Healthier America Summit, and the 2013 Clinton Foundation's Health Matters Conference.

Her efforts have caught the attention of First Lady Michelle Obama, who has spearheaded efforts combating childhood obesity.

Last April, Haile even got to personally greet Mrs. Obama during the First Lady's visit to Tucson, by waiting for her on the tarmac as she arrived.

Haile left Arizona late Monday afternoon on a flight headed for Washington, D.C.  And she reflected on how far her efforts and passion have taken her.

"The first time I really put together me and my little sister's cooking show, we had big dreams, of course, but not to this extent," Haile said. "This is out there!"