Holcomb receives package from White house

Friday, February 24, 2012
Hunter Holcomb

Piggott High School sophomore Hunter Holcomb thought outside the box on a recent assignment. Students in Stacey Peters' computer business applications class had the unique assignment of contacting a celebrity by letter in October. While other classmates tried to contact pop singers, athletes and actors, Holcomb took a different approach. The 16-year-old sent a letter to President of the United States Barack Obama.

"I thought the President would be a good choice," Holcomb said. "I asked Mrs. Peters and she said no one (in the class) had tried to contact someone like that before."

In his letter, Holcomb took the opportunity to offer some words of encouragement to the holder of the often-scrutinized office.

"I didn't really ask any specific questions," Holcomb said. "I told him I understand his job is hard. I know there are a lot of people that criticize him, but that we don't really know everything the president has to do."

Though still too young to vote, Holcomb said he doesn't necessarily consider himself a supporter of President Obama or any particular candidate. He does appreciate the importance of the office and those who hold it.

"It's the President," Holcomb said. "Whether you like Obama or someone else, it's still the highest office in the United States."

With the letter sent, the assignment gradually began to fade from Holcomb's mind.

"I didn't think about hearing anything back," Holcomb said. "You wouldn't expect to get anything back from the President or his staff."

Weeks went by, and a large envelope arrived for Holcomb at the school.

"I saw it and I couldn't help but get excited," Holcomb said. "The envelope, which I think is the best part, had the return address for the White House. I couldn't believe it!"

Opening the package, Holcomb found a photograph personally signed by President Obama.

"I opened the envelope and there was a picture inside," Holcomb said. "There wasn't a letter or any correspondence inside, and I was a little disappointed at first. Then I looked at the photo again and I saw it had been signed. His name wasn't stamped on there, it was actually written."

As per the assignment, any student who received a response from their chosen celebrity received additional credit for the class. Holcomb received the additional bonus of a small piece of American history.

"Whether you support him or not, he's still the President," Holcomb said. "I wasn't expecting anything like this at all. It made me feel like I was someone who mattered to the President and his staff. It's something that I'm going to keep for the rest if my life."

Holcomb's experience hasn't led the young man to consider a career in politics, however.

"I want to get my Master's degree and become an engineer," he said of his future plans.

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