When Parthenia Moore met Hillary Clinton after her speech in Mitten Hall on Monday, the Democratic presidential nominee grabbed Moore’s phone out of her hand, turned it around and took a selfie with her.
Moore, the principal of the Philadelphia High School for Girls in North Philadelphia, attended the speech — geared toward millennial issues like college debt and youth activism — with a group of her students, who sat in the front row.
For a group of female high school students, Moore said, seeing the first woman nominated for president by a major political party was “phenomenal.”
“She’s making sure that education is paid for,” Moore said. “Not just having no debt, but also making sure that the debt can be paid.”
When Clinton took the podium at about 12:30 p.m., she said she saw how much fun Obama had when he visited Philadelphia last week to campaign on her behalf, so she made the trip herself.
“Temple was founded to democratize, diversify and widen the reach of education,” Clinton told the audience of about 200 people.
Clinton added that she worked one-on-one with Sen. Bernie Sanders, a former Democratic presidential candidate, to create a plan to make public universities debt-free and to help refinance old student loans.
She argued that unlike her Republican opponent, Donald Trump, she spends time on specific details of public policy, like the “precise rate of your student loans, right down to the decimal.”
“Because it’s not a small detail to you,” Clinton said. “It’s a big deal.”
But instead of going into the specifics of her educational policy during the speech, Clinton encouraged the audience to visit her website, where she said her full plan is accessible.
“I really wanted to hear more about how she plans to make college free for all the public universities,” said Amanda Dinh, a sophomore pharmacy major. “She mentioned that she worked with Bernie Sanders, which is really great because a lot of Temple students supported him, but I would love to hear more about what she plans to do to actually get that working for us.”
“Everyone wants to have free college, obviously, but is that really feasible?” said Kaitlyn Nevin, a sophomore in the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality management. “Somebody has to pay for it, so where’s the money going to come from?”
Nevin said it was her first time seeing any presidential candidate in person — and she even got to shake Clinton’s hand.
“She walked past us up to the front,” Nevin said. “I didn’t want to miss the opportunity, so I screamed: ‘Hillary!’ She turned around and shook my hand.”
“The fact that a woman has the potential to be our next president is so inspiring,” Nevin added. “I think about all the little girls that look up to Hillary and think, ‘I could be president if I want.’”
In addition to education, Clinton stressed the importance of issues like climate change, systemic racism and gender inequality.
Clinton finished her speech by asking that all attendees organize and volunteer to register voters and get out the vote for her campaign.
“At Temple, you’re already organizing football tailgates and having a great time doing it,” she added.
“Young people have more stake in this election than anyone else,” Clinton said. “If I’m in the White House, young people will always have a seat at any table where decisions are made.”
Michaela Winberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.