Dear Hillary Clinton,
2016 was definitely one for the books. From an H-logo 17th birthday cake, to countless campaign t-shirts, to rallies, to campaigning and canvassing, to phone banks, to weekends and evenings after school spent at my local Democrat Headquarters, to crying because I couldn't vote, and to many tears (of joy and sadness), I am beyond proud to say "I'm Still with Her."
My name is Emily Rine and I'm 17 years old. I'm a junior in high school in a deep-red area, but I proudly talked about you more than often, wore my favorite campaign attire very frequently, and stood my ground, which is a skill that I learned from you.
I could write a novel containing the stories I want to share with you, but I have one in particular that I want you to know.
On Election Day, I got up bright and early, slipped on my favorite campaign shirt, and went to the Democrat Headquarters in my town. I could feel the enthusiasm in the air and I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. I later went with my mother to watch her cast her vote for you. I stood by the polling machine with tears rolling down my cheeks, realizing that I was witnessing HERstory being made. I was growing very anxious to get back to the headquarters.
Long story short, after watching the night play out, I went home from the headquarters around midnight and it's all a blur from there.
On November 9, it was time to go to school (though I had not even been to sleep). I sat at the kitchen table in tears and still very much in shock. I was supposed to be inducted into the National Honors Society at 9:15 that morning but I didn't think I could pull myself together in time to go to school. I wasn't ready to face the people and their taunting. I decided I couldn't do it. As I was heading back to bed, I thought about something. When you get knocked down, you get right back up and keep going. I knew that you wouldn't want me to miss out on my special day and I knew that you wouldn't miss out on something just because you got knocked down. So, I quickly got ready and put on my sparkly Hillary pin and went to school. As soon as inductions were over, I went home to watch your speech. I had never cried so many tears in my entire life until that moment. I was so proud of you for so humbly accepting that new reality, and the amount of respect, admiration, and pride that I had for you in that moment is inexpressible. I told myself that if you could get up that morning and put on that (fabulous) pantsuit and face a new day, I could do the same. I knew I had to do it because that's what you would do, and that's what you so beautifully did.
I don't think that anyone could ever thank you enough for all that you have done. Thank you for being an incomparable role model; for inspiring me to help everyone in every way that I can; for always being in our corner and having our backs; and for being our champion. And thanks to the awe-inspiring example that you've set and for the burning passion that you awoke within me. We have reached the zenith of determination and empowerment, and we will not let you down. "We are stronger together and we will go forward together."
This past January, I enrolled in political science classes as an early entrance student at a local college, and in the Fall of 2018, I plan to begin studying political science and global affairs in college. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the inspiration and confidence to take this big step. And one day, I hope to leave my mark on the world.
You have been my role model since I was just 10 years old, and I hope that I am fortunate enough to meet you some day.
Here's to you, Hillary, our forever champion.
My mother and I went to the Women's March on Washington. Seeing the thousands of Hillary signs and quotes brought tears to my eyes and warmed my heart. I carried my sign with one of your quotes written on it, and I wore my H-logo badge and sparkly pin. On the Mall, I took my badge off and snapped a picture of it in front of the White House; it reminds me every single day that we still have a lot of work to do and that one day, we will be able to say "Madam President" - all thanks to you.