As the bell rings for the start of fifth period, Olivia Nutter rushes into her sixth-grade science classroom at J.R. Masterman School, carrying an armful of books. Even before she can set the books down, her classmates start quizzing her about her day and whether or not she has filled in her moon-chart assignment.
She flashes a smile, one that many may recognize from her recent appearances on TV as the youngest spokesperson for the mayoral campaign of former City Councilman Michael A. Nutter - her dad.
Olivia, 12, is both sure of herself and down to earth - an ordinary girl dropped into an extraordinary situation. Her confidence, poise and maturity added a personal touch to her father's issue-focused campaign, and speaking to her in person is a pleasure.
"People just stop me and hug me on the street now," she says. "Sometimes they kiss me - that's a little weird."
But then, this is the girl who was narrator and star of the TV commercial that many people say helped her father win Tuesday's Democratic mayoral primary.
Olivia insists that she doesn't mind the publicity. In fact, she's used to it. Olivia was born a little more than three years after Nutter's first Council win in 1991 and grew up in the public's eye.
Despite her new role as Philadelphia's likely next first daughter, Olivia says her relationship with her father hasn't changed. "He does actually drive me to school," as he did in the TV ad, she confirms. And while she admits that she does not see her dad as often as she would like, she does get to spend time with him on weekends.
What is a typical father-daughter activity for Olivia and the likely mayor-to-be? "We go to fund-raisers together," says Olivia. Asked if her father's career has motivated her to enter politics, she says, laughing: "I have no patience."
Even though Olivia has no desire to be a politician, she is ambitious. She's interested in becoming a pediatrician, lawyer or businesswoman. But for now, she's happy to help her father with the fall election.
Juggling her schoolwork and the campaign has occasionally been difficult. "She was really stressed out the week before the election," says Zora Davis, one of Olivia's classmates. Zora says the campaign "tired her out."
"I haven't watched TV in three weeks," says Olivia, "except the news." Even so, she doesn't seem to regret this, since her everyday life is usually so busy.
After her dad drops her off on the steps of Masterman each morning, Olivia prepares for a typical school day, which begins at 8:15 and ends at 3:19 p.m. While she finds some of the classes challenging, Olivia says she likes being a member of the elite student body at Masterman, a magnet public school that runs from the fifth through 12th grade. And is she a good student?
"I'm average," she says modestly. "I talk a little too much."
Her friend Camille Green offers a different perspective. "She's a really good student. She always participates in class."
Olivia's favorite subjects are social studies and science. "I really like astronomy," she says. Right now, the class assignment is filling in charts of the phases of the moon. Here, Olivia finds herself at a slight disadvantage: "There are too many trees in front of my window."
Her social life at school has not been significantly altered by her father's intense media coverage. "It was cool to see her on TV," says classmate Anthony Rivera. Other than that, it seems as though Olivia is as "nice" and "cool" as she's always been. "The only thing that's different is that people congratulate me now," she says.
After school, Olivia takes a bus to her mom's job in Center City and starts doing her homework. Four days a week she takes classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet in Narberth. "I used to do tap," she says, but she switched to ballet exclusively to focus more seriously on her technique. Olivia also enjoys horseback riding and plans to attend a riding camp this summer.
She is excited at the prospect of a well-earned vacation. She's going camping with her aunt and uncle - and then she's going to Disney World.
Where does she see herself in the future? Olivia seems uncertain. "Nothing is predictable," she says. Her father's primary victory is still fresh in her mind. "I'm still trying to believe it really happened," she says
In science class, Olivia is studying major Earth changes - which couldn't be more fitting, considering that her own life is about to undergo more changes. Whatever lies in store for Olivia Nutter, she is sure of one thing.
Even though her father might very well be Philadelphia's next mayor, "he's still my dad, no matter what."