STJ Senior to Meet Obama, Biden as Ala. Rep. to U.S. Senate Youth Program.
With five months until graduation, it’s already been an amazing senior year for Saint James School’s Jared Hunter. The son of Herbert and Loria Hunter, Jared was named a National Merit Scholarship Corporation National Achievement semifinalist in September – one of only 1,600 Black American high school seniors named to compete for $2.5 million to be offered in the spring. Despite a demanding course load, he is also a student reporter for a special series of webcasts produced by Alabama Public Television. The programs, Project C: Lessons from the Civil Rights Movement, are online productions for which Hunter does on-camera interviews. The series has received more than 650,000 views.
Some of the biggest news of the year for Hunter came earlier this month when the high school senior learned he is one of only two students in the state selected to represent Alabama in the U.S. Senate Youth program funded by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.
In addition to a $5,000 college scholarship, Hunter receives an all-expense paid week-long trip to the nation's capital in the Spring to tour Washington, meet the President and Vice President, and talk and have dinner with multiple heads of agencies and departments, as well as Supreme Court judges and elected officials.
“I’m incredibly excited and I’m counting down the days until I get to go in March,” Hunter said. “I think this will be an important week in helping me get into my dream college (Georgetown) and it will also give me a good glimpse of what career I want to pursue.”
Selection for the honor does not come easily. Applicants must take a difficult test aimed at assessing a student’s knowledge about history and current affairs. Grades from the tests are tallied and the nine highest state scorers are chosen as semifinalists. The students are then interviewed, in-person, by the U.S. Senate Youth Program representatives. Each interviewee is quizzed on current affairs, history, and their views on a number of topical issues, both national and state-related.
“My interview was the Saturday before Thanksgiving, at the American Village at Montevallo. They asked me questions with a strong focus on national and state current events. Thankfully, I’d brushed up on Governor Bentley’s recent trip to Japan, when he was trying to get more businesses to come to Alabama, because they asked me my views on that!” Hunter said, laughing.
In addition to Georgetown, the talented 17-year-old is considering the University of North Carolina, the University of Alabama, and Auburn. “It depends on where I find the best combination of scholarship and academic package.”
Down the road, Hunter would like to be a U.S. senator. “But I know you can’t just graduate from college and immediately do that. I’m interested in the creative aspect of software design – not the coding part, but the designing the aesthetic of the software. When I was little I wanted to work for Apple, so it would be really cool if I ended up there.”
Is it difficult to keep up with school, with so many other demanding activities?
“This year has been a rollercoaster ride, with really great moments and harder moments of applying to colleges and scholarships and keeping up my GPA,” Hunter says. “My mom keeps telling me ‘You’re on the downhill stretch, just hang in there for a few more months.’ And I know she’s right. What I do now will affect what I’m doing when I’m 40 and 50, so I just have to keep working as hard as I can, with that thought in mind.”
“My goal is to graduate Summa Cum Laude, which is 4.0.” Already maintaining a 3.97 GPA, Jared Hunter ‘s goal is well in sight.
CAPTION: STJ senior Jared Hunter is one of only two Alabama seniors who will represent the state in Washington this March in a program sponsored by the William Randolph Hearst Corporation.