CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When Hannah McCarley, a senior at Washington High School in Charles Town, turned 18 earlier this month, she was also becoming the youngest delegate West Virginia ever sent to the National Democratic Convention, according to Dale Manuel, president of the Jefferson County Democratic Association.
At the Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C., McCarley's 43 fellow West Virginia delegates picked her to deliver the state's nominating speech for president.
"Madame Secretary, my name is Hannah McCarley," she said. "I turned 18 this week and I am proud to be part of the youngest delegation ever from West Virginia.
"Our young people are committed to being part of the Democratic team that will make our future bright. Our delegation is proud to cast our 44 votes for President Barack Obama."
"I didn't know I was going to do that. It was very exciting. It was a great honor," she told the Gazette-Mail in a recent phone interview.
Before she spoke, McCarley said she and some of her fellow delegates "went out of the arena and wrote up something together. I spoke about how the youth and the young people in West Virginia are going to be a big part of the election.
"My speech was on C-Span at 1 o'clock in the morning. We stuck to the 30-second rule," she said. "It was pretty exciting."
The Rev. Phil McCarley, Hannah's father, said, "We have been pretty much in the background. We are very proud of her. She has done an amazing job.
"She is back in school this week. She has a full load of challenging classes. Next week, she will begin writing her college application essays."
Hannah is not yet sure where she wants to go to college.
"I have to see where I get in," she said.
Phil McCarley said, "I kind of worry about her sometime. But she handles things well. She seems to be able to balance things out."
Hannah's parents, Phil and Melanie, went to the Charlotte convention with her.
Hannah said the convention was "pretty amazing, especially my being so young. I got to meet a lot of other people from around the country.