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Natalia Thompson, 17, is a student at West High School in Madison, Wisconsin, by day and a feminist writer and community activist by night. Her writing has appeared in New Moon, Stone Soup, NewsHour Extra, GirlSpeak, Shameless, off our backs and other print and online publications. She is also the founder of Madison SOS (Speak Out, Sister!), a forum uniting high school young women in leadership and action on the issues that most matter to them. The initiative has received national recognition for its efforts to engage youth in the struggle for social change.
This essay, a finalist in The Nation's Student Writing Contest, argues that the most important prerequisite for being a good president cannot be found in the marble hallways of the nation's elite institutions.