- The Washington Times - Monday, August 16, 2004

Howard University student Adam Hunter wants to “Stand Up and Holla!” And he’s competing with nine other young essayists to do it at the Republican National Convention in New York City.

What’s all the hollering about? The impact of President Bush’s call to service on the lives of young people — and the chance to deliver a prime-time speech during the convention.

Tonight, MTV will announce the winner of the “Stand Up and Holla!” essay contest on its “Total Request Live” show.

Mr. Hunter, 21, is one of 10 finalists, chosen from a field of more than 1,000 18- to 24-year-olds. The winner will read his or her essay during a prime-time slot at the convention, which will be held at Madison Square Garden from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2.

A senior who has a double major in economics and political science, Mr. Hunter said youth who volunteer have the power and responsibility to act politically. He said 70 percent of the nation’s youth gets involved in community activities, but the voting percentage among the youth is 30 percent.

“It’s a dramatic difference,” he said in a recent interview.

Mr. Hunter said teens — many of whom volunteer at soup kitchens or with literacy groups — should know that “every vote does count.”

“Those who stand in the social gap touch individuals in ways that no legislation or agency could,” his essay reads.

His essay notes that America’s beauty is found in “the homes, churches, organizations and the many gathering places where people experience the true America … we know that serving our community is serving our country.”

He said Americans need to realize that the youth care about the United States and try to make it better.

“We still have a pulse on what our country is about, and we contribute to our country through volunteering,” he said.

Mr. Hunter’s parents are both Democrats, but the Somerset, N.J., native who calls himself a lifelong Republican doesn’t let that stop him from supporting his favorite party.

Mr. Hunter said he believes in the party’s “issues and values,” such as faith-based initiatives, school choice, tax cuts and welfare reform.

Mr. Hunter works for American Express Financial Advisors in Tysons Corner and lives on the Howard University campus in Northwest. He founded the Howard College Republicans and is the group’s past chairman. He also does minority outreach for the College Republican National Committee.

Mr. Hunter was encouraged by members of the Bush-Cheney campaign to enter the MTV-Republican National Convention “Stand Up and Holla!” essay contest.

If his essay is not selected, Mr. Hunter still might attend the convention as a volunteer with the New Jersey delegation.

Another local finalist is Nathan Imperiale, a George Washington University student from Lake Arrowhead, Calif., who is a volunteer for Rep. Deborah Pryce, Ohio Republican.

Mr. Imperiale, 19, works to encourage minorities to participate in the legislative process. Mr. Imperiale, who was named the Habitat for Humanity Community Builder of the Year, wrote about his grandfather’s service in World War II and said without adequate housing, people are less likely to succeed.

The other finalists are Reza Torkzadeh of Northridge, Calif.; Amanda Klein of Reno, Nev.; Sheri Valera of Port Charlotte, Fla.; Princella Smith of Wynne, Ark.; Hans Zeiger of Puyallup, Wash.; Prabal Saxena of Hicksville, N.Y.; Clarence Dass of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.; and Dan Sharpe of Bexley, Ohio.

The MTV-Republican National Convention “Stand Up and Holla!” essay contest is part of convention organizers’ strategy to “energize America’s youth and empower them to take part in grass-roots efforts on behalf of President Bush,” according to the Republican National Convention’s Web site.

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