Quick Takes

High school students can apply for week of study in D.C., $10,000 college scholarship

By: - August 1, 2023 4:44 pm

The U.S. Capitol. (Jennifer Shutt/States Newsroom)

Applications are now open for the 2024 United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP), a merit-based opportunity that takes outstanding high school students from around the country to Washington, D.C., for a weeklong study of the federal government and the people who lead it, the Kentucky Department of Education announced Tuesday.

According to a news release, two Kentucky high school students will be selected this fall as delegates and will each receive a $10,000 college scholarship in the name of the U.S. Senate, with encouragement to continue coursework in history, government and public affairs.

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) oversees the selection process of two students to be part of the national 104-student USSYP delegation.

Students will attend Washington Week – scheduled for March 2-9, 2024 – and participate in meetings and briefings with high-level officials from each branch of federal government, including senators, a justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies, other key policymakers and senior members of the media.

High school teachers and principals are encouraged to nominate qualified high school juniors and seniors to apply. Applications for the 2024 USSYP program are available online and are due Oct. 2.

Applicants should be interested in pursuing careers in public service and have proven records of leadership, scholarship and volunteer service. Students will need to submit a transcript, two letters of recommendation and a resume as part of the application process.

Semifinalists will interview in Frankfort on Saturday, Nov. 4. KDE will announce the names of two USSYP delegates and two alternates representing Kentucky in December.

David Daniel, a senior at Owensboro High School (Owensboro Independent), and Heng Yang, a recent graduate of Conner High School (Boone County), were selected for the 2023 program.

“Before my week in Washington, I had an outsider’s perspective on how the government is run. I had a pessimistic view of politics as an endless series of deadlocks and polarization,” Yang wrote in a recent column on Kentucky Teacher. “However, the common theme I learned from U.S. Senate Youth is compromise and cooperation,” a theme Yang said was reinforced during the group’s visits to national landmarks and in conversations with his USSYP mentors and peers.

“The memories made here have been countless and will be some of the fondest ever, I’m sure,” Daniel wrote in a reflective column about his USSYP experience that was published in Kentucky Teacher. “You make friends from so many diverse backgrounds, and I can only hope that this network stays strong throughout my professional life.”

The U.S. Senate Youth Program was created by Senate Resolution 324 in 1962 and has been sponsored by the Senate and funded by The Hearst Foundations. The 2024 program brochure with detailed rules and additional program details is available on the USSYP website.

For more information, email GlyptusAnn Grider Jones or call her at (502) 564-2000, ext. 4616.

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