Eight-year-old Martha Kennedy Morales recently ran for class president. Though she lost to a boy — by one vote — the election had its upsides, including a surprise letter from a politician she personally admires: Hillary Clinton.
In a one-page letter to Martha, Clinton shared her pride in the third-grader and underscored the importance of pushing forward and learning from a difficult experience.
"As I know too well, it's not easy when you stand up and put yourself in contention for a role that's only been sought by boys," Clinton wrote in the letter, one first shared by The Washington Post.
The former U.S. secretary of state encouraged Martha to be resilient and keep seeking out opportunities to be a leader. Wrote Clinton, "The most important thing is that you fought for what you believed in, and that is always worth it."
"As you continue to learn and grow in the years ahead," wrote Clinton, "know that I am cheering you on for a future of great success."
Clinton understands a tough presidential race. She was the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016, and the first woman to secure the backing of a major American political party. Though she won that election's popular vote, she lost in the electoral college against Republican candidate President Donald Trump.
Martha decided to run for class president when her combined third- and fourth-grade class at Friends Community School in Maryland held elections as part of a unit on U.S. government.
The election was a tight race, and Martha ran against a popular classmate. In the first vote, several ballots were declared invalid since they had not been filled out correctly, reported The Washington Post. When a second vote was held, Martha eventually lost.
Her father, Albert Morales, chronicled the entire campaign and election on his Facebook page, where her race gained a wider audience, including some Washington-based political activists.
The posts eventually caught the attention of someone who knows Clinton, inspiring her to pen a note. She congratulated Martha for getting elected as class vice president and told her how proud she was to see Martha run in the first place.
"My mom was just picking me up from school, and she pulled the letter out of her purse," said Martha. "I opened it up, and it was a letter from Hillary Clinton. I was very surprised."
Martha told CNN on Sunday that she'll run for class president again if the opportunity comes up.
"To know that Hillary Clinton is cheering me on for a future of great success, I mean, this is really special."
"I remember her pink shirt she was wearing the night of the election," she told CBS News. "I've had dreams about wearing that pink shirt."
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