Thursday, September 2, 2004

Persistent candidate on his way to the top

By William Croyle
Enquirer contributor

Adam Hartke (center) a senior at Lloyd High School was elected as student representative to the Erlanger-Elsmere Board of Education. At left is Riya Paranthan; at right is Colleen O'Connell.
(Patrick Reddy/The Enquirer)
ERLANGER - Adam Hartke has a long way to go before he can call the White House his home, but he took a step in the right direction Wednesday.

The 17-year-old senior at Lloyd Memorial High School was elected as the first student representative to the Erlanger-Elsmere Board of Education.It was his first political victory after deciding five years ago that he would be the president of the United States in 2032.

"I think I was 0-10 in elections before this," said Hartke. "I ran for class president all the time. I didn't win anything."

He won this one in a landslide, earning 71 percent of the vote.

This is the first year a student will serve on the board of education. Hartke will visit the schools in the district once a month to listen to students' concerns, then take those concerns to the monthly board meetings. It's a non-voting position, but the idea is to give students more of a voice in how the district operates.

"This certainly allows them to make their concerns known to the board," said Lloyd Principal John Riehemann. "Teen-agers often have a different point of view than we can see."

Hartke was one of seven juniors and seniors who nominated themselves for the seat. They gave speeches Wednesday to the 48 voters - Lloyd Student Council, Tichenor Middle School Student Council and eight representatives from the four elementary schools.

Hartke's speech impressed the audience.

"It was absolutely amazing," said junior Jade Woosley, who finished second.

After being introduced by Superintendent Mike Sander, Hartke walked in front of the podium instead of behind it.

He paced back and forth, his arms flailing, as he gave his speech.

"I will make sure you all have a voice," he said. "I'll tell you my phone number right now!" After giving out his phone number, he invited all in the audience to call him at any hour of the night with their concerns.

Hartke said he decided on the animated style because he's not good at giving speeches from behind a podium.

"Some think my way of doing it makes me look like an idiot and others think it's neat," said Hartke. "I think it gets people excited and involved."

Lloyd senior counselor Ron Weiter was not surprised Hartke won.

"His interest in politics and government issues has been well established over his four years here," said Weiter. "He's always been an industrious and conscientious student."


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