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Farewell to the first daughters: Malia and Sasha's best moments over the past 8 years

The little girls who arrived at the White House 8 years ago are leaving as teenagers.
/ Source: TODAY

They arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue eight years ago as young girls who had charmed the public by acting their age — the younger one blowing kisses to her dad, or letting him know he did good by flashing him a thumbs up.

Image of Barack Obama with his family on 2008 Election Night gathering in Chicago
Then President-elect Barack Obama with his wife, Michelle, and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, celebrate an Election Night victory on Nov. 4, 2008, in Chicago, Illinois.Joe Raedle / Getty Images

This month, Sasha Obama, now 15, and her big sister, Malia, 18, leave the White House as sophisticated teenagers who have grown up on the world stage.

President Obama Pardons National Thanksgiving Turkey
President Obama with Sasha and Malia at the 2015 turkey pardon ceremony in the White House Rose Garden.Getty Images

Journalists for the most part adhered to the wishes of the president and first lady to keep a respectful distance from their daughters, refraining from photographing them at their school, soccer games and other events sanctioned as off-limits.

Many Americans still have no idea what either of the girls sound like, but intermittent photographs of them over the years have provided the public with regular glimpses of their growth into young ladies.

Here's a look at some of their more well-chronicled moments of their time as the nation's first daughters:

You rocked it, Dad!

Image of Sasha Obama giving her father, President Obama, a thumbs up after his 2009 inauguration speech.
President Obama is congratulated by daughter, Sasha, after taking the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2009.AP

Sasha, then 7 and the youngest child to live in the White House since John F. Kennedy, Jr., famously gave her father a thumbs up after he took the oath of office as the nation's 44th, and first African American, president of the United States.

Presidential pup

During his November 2008 victory speech, President Obama told his daughters: "You have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House."

A few months later, a Portuguese water dog named Bo joined the Obama family.

Malia Obama runs with Bo, followed by her dad and sister, Sasha, on the South Lawn of the White House on April 14, 2009.
Malia Obama runs with Bo, followed by her dad and sister, Sasha, on the South Lawn of the White House on April 14, 2009. AP

Bo was a present from the late Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy. The pup was joined years later by his sister, Sunny, whom the Obamas adopted in 2013.

RELATED: First dogs Bo and Sunny help deck the White House halls for the holidays.

Pardon me

In the early years, Malia and Sasha seemed amused by the centuries-old tradition of the pardoning of turkeys every Thanksgiving season.

Image: President Obama Pardons Thanksgiving Turkey At White House
The president and his daughters share a moment as the 2012 National Thanksgiving Turkey, Cobbler, is "pardoned" during a November 2012 Rose Garden ceremony.Getty Images

But as they got older, so did their dad’s pun-filled jokes.

The girls skipped out last November in what would be their father's final turkey pardon as president and were replaced instead by their younger, ahem, more game, cousins.

WATCH: President Obama breaks out the dad jokes at his final turkey pardon

"Thanksgiving is a family holiday as much as a national one, so for the past seven years, I've established another tradition: embarrassing my daughters with a corny-copia of dad jokes about turkeys," Obama said at the time, explaining why his daughters were no-shows.

"Malia and Sasha, by the way, are thankful that this is my final presidential turkey pardon. What I haven't told them is that we're going to do this every year from now on," he continued. "No cameras, just us, every year. No way I'm cutting this habit cold turkey."

Say 'cheese'

They may have 24-hour Secret Service protection, but Sasha and Malia Obama grew up as typical teenagers in numerous other ways.

Like taking selfies to pass the time during a lull in the 2013 presidential inaugural parade. Because who wouldn't?

Sasha Obama, Malia Obama take a selfie
Sasha and Malia Obama take a photo of themselves during the Presidential Inaugural Parade on January 21, 2013.AFP - Getty Images


The two sisters have traveled the world, usually accompanying both parents on official visits abroad. But in 2011, when their mother took a trip to South Africa sans husband, the girls went along and were treated to a meeting with the iconic former president Nelson Mandela at his home in Johannesburg.

Michelle Obama, Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, Nelson Mandela
Sasha and Malia Obama pose with their mother and former South African President Nelson Mandela.AFP - Getty Images

They again traveled with their mother a few years later, this time to China during a week-long goodwill tour that focused on cultural and educational exchange but allowed for a few personal moments, and breathtaking images.

Michelle Obama with daughters Sasha and Malia during a visit to China's Great Wall
First Lady Michelle Obama hugs her daughters during their visit to the Great Wall of China on March 23, 2014.Pete Souza / White House

Glamour girls

The sisters had to wait until their final year of living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue before they finally got invited to sit at the adult table, so to speak.

Malia and Sasha attended their first black-tie gala last March during the White House state dinner held in honor of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Malia Obama, Sasha Obama
Malia leads the first family and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife toward the State Dining Room.Pete Souza / White House

The evening led to the second "thumbs up" moment for the sisters, this time from Malia as she sweetly encouraged Sasha during a fangirl moment over actor and dinner guest Ryan Reynolds.

MORE: Thumbs-up! Malia Obama adorably encourages sister Sasha in meeting with Ryan Reynolds

Image: Sasha and Malia talk with actor Ryan Reynolds
Sasha Obama gets some sisterly support while speaking with actor Ryan Reynolds in the White House Blue Room during her first state dinner. Pete Souza / The White House

The moment struck a chord with many who have put themselves in the exact scenario as Sasha.

When Sasha and Malia move out of the White House, the home they have known for the past eight years, they won't be moving far away. The Obama family will stay in Washington for an additional year so that Sasha can finish high school. Malia, who graduated last spring, is currently on a gap year and will head to Harvard in the fall.

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