A Letter of Gratitude from Madeline Peltzer
Recipient of the 2017 Lewis Scholarship, a designated scholarship in the AFHE Scholarship Fund
Receiving the call that I had been selected was a blessing and a much-needed boost to my efforts to finance my college education debt-free. I am grateful to you for your interest in the next generation of homeschoolers and your support of civically minded students like me. Thank you!
I am officially half-way through my freshman year at Hillsdale College. It is incredible how fast the semester went and how much has happened! I never imagined I would love life as a college student so much. The overwhelming majority of students at Hillsdale are ambitious, hardworking, and strong in their Christian faith and conservative values—kids who don’t go to church on Sundays are the odd ones out. It’s a good kind of peer pressure that sets the bar high and holds me accountable, something my parents and I have prayed for since I was little.
The atmosphere is encouraging and supportive and the upperclassmen are always ready to share their experiences and advice. Students are so multitalented that, although it’s a small school in a small town, the campus is a constant hive of activity. There is always something rich, edifying, and fun to do whether it be hearing from a renowned speaker, attending an orchestral concert, or learning to dance at a swing party. The academics at Hillsdale are very demanding and I practically lived in the library the entire semester. I enjoy the challenge, though, and particularly excelled in my history and Constitution courses which only solidified my love for politics. I’m taking 17 credits next semester and am most looking forward to Political Economy, Great Books (English and literature), and French.
God has opened the door to some wonderful opportunities to get involved on campus. I was able to join the board of Hillsdale College Republicans, which is rare for a freshman, and help organize and run events, fundraisers, and volunteer activities. I was also named Chair of the Member Events Committee and am responsible for brainstorming and facilitating speaker events, policy roundtables, and lectures as well as connecting members with internship and job opportunities in the conservative movement. Last month, I was also elected as a Freshman Representative to Hillsdale’s Student Federation, one of only two such positions. Student Fed is Hillsdale’s version of student government and our job is to sanction campus events and student groups as well as determine funding for clubs. It’s a great way to get involved at the most grassroots level of the Hillsdale chain of command.
I was also excited to meet Lindsey Burke of the Heritage Foundation when she came to speak on campus. I’ve been a fan of hers ever since I cited her research on school choice in a prize-winning essay I wrote for John Stossel’s national contest four years ago. I have long wanted to meet her and was amazed to find myself sitting next to her during a luncheon with Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts! She and I had a lovely one-on-one chat over lunch about school choice, education under the Trump administration, her work with Heritage, the Congressional tax bill, and internships. She is an inspiration to me!
In addition, I am a cast member for the Liberty Princess Company, a student-founded non-profit. Hillsdale girls are trained and attired as Disney princesses and are invited to community events, birthday parties, and fundraisers to bring Disney magic to underprivileged kids who might not otherwise get to experience it. I am preparing to take on the roles of Cinderella, Elsa, Aurora, and Ariel next semester. I love Disney and I love kids, so it’s the perfect fit.
I spent a week in November at the National Foundation for Women Legislators annual conference in Minneapolis with elected women from all over America. Every year, NFWL teams up with the National Rifle Association to sponsor a student essay contest. I entered over the summer and was named one of the winners. Although the organization is non-partisan, the attendees were overwhelmingly Democrat and, of the six scholarship recipients, I was the only conservative. They had us do a panel discussion during lunch toward the end of the conference. I ended up getting asked all the political questions, such as why I thought millennials were attracted to socialism and whether my generation was politically apathetic. I responded truthfully and as winsomely and articulately as I could. At first, I wasn’t sure how my answers were received, but afterwards I had so many people tell me how much they appreciated what I had said. I discovered there was a substantial contingent of Christians and conservatives in attendance after all and I had many encouraging conversations with accomplished, like-minded ladies. There were also several fans of Hillsdale College who asked for photos with me!
The NFWL sponsored Arizona state Senator Nancy Barto to accompany me as my mentor. What a lovely woman of God! It was a blessing to spend time with one whose values I share, and we had deep discussions about current events, policy issues, why she ran for office, and a woman’s role in the home and political sphere. We continue to keep in touch—in fact, we got to spend all of Monday together because she invited my family and me to Governor Ducey’s State of the State Address, which was an amazing treat! She even introduced us from the floor of the Senate during the opening ceremonies.
I head back to Hillsdale next week and will hit the ground running. College Republicans is working hard to pull off our annual trip to CPAC in February. I’ve always wanted to attend and am very excited! We’re also preparing to bring Carly Fiorina to campus and I’m in the midst of organizing a panel discussion on the opioid crisis with medical and law professionals in the Hillsdale community. Meanwhile, I’ve already started applying for summer internships. Governor Ducey wants me to work on his reelection campaign, and I’ve also been in touch with Representative Andy Biggs and his wife about interning in his D.C. office. In addition, I just submitted my application for the American Enterprise Institute’s Summer Honors Program in D.C. and hope to spend a week learning from their scholars. College life is great but it is like drinking from a firehose. Even eating and sleeping go out the window. But if it weren’t rigorous, I’d be disappointed!
Thank you for coming alongside me in my endeavors. It is my prayer that I prove myself to be a worthy investment for you.
with fellow winners of the NFWL-NRA Scholarship
with Millie Hallow, NFWL-NRA Scholarship Founder
with Lindsey Burke, Heritage Foundation
with Arizona Governor Doug Ducey
with her mentor Arizona State Senator Nancy Barto
with her sisters; home for Christmas break