In two weeks, Republicans from around the country will convene in New York to rally in support of President George W. Bush, and to listen to an exuberant 20-year-old named Princella Smith.
Smith earned her plane ticket to the Big Apple by authoring the winning entry in MTV's Choose or Lose Stand Up and Holla! essay contest, and she'll deliver her words to the 2004 Republican National Convention next Tuesday. The rural Arkansas native's essay, selected by her peers on ChooseorLose.com from more than 1,000 entries, discusses her support of Bush and his call for young people "to do nothing less than change the world."
Smith, who got her royal first name from a compromise between her mother (who said she was a "gift from the prince of heaven") and her grandmother, Maggie-Ella (who was insulted that none of her offspring had named a child after her), is actively engaged in changing the world. Working through her church and her university, Smith has donated her time to initiatives that aid the needy and assist the home-bound, and she's worked extensively with her peers by tutoring students and volunteering with after-school programs.
She credits growing up in rural Arkansas with giving her a "great sense of community and a sense [that] community service is a way of life," and Smith said she feels that activism on behalf of young people is important because "with society changing, there is more for kids to get into, such as violence and drugs."
In her speech, Smith will urge her peers not to let their generation be compared to Generation X, which many characterized as slackers. Instead, the youth of today must be "Generation X-ample."
Naturally, she also encourages them not to slack on voting day. "With the margin of error being so small [this year]," she said, "our vote will carry much weight."
To read Smith's winning essay, as well as the essays of the other finalists, click here.