The finalists are Katherine Ford, Pocahontas County High School; Colin Reger, Philip Barbour High School in Barbour County; Preston Sundin, Notre Dame High School in Harrison County; Granvil George, George Washington High School in Kanawha County; Charles Hunt, Westside High School in Wyoming County; and Michael Nichols, Union High School in Grant County.
The finalists were chosen from nearly 300 applicants who took a qualifying test and then from 20 semi-finalists who were asked to submit letters of recommendation, transcripts, school activities, community service, schedules, elected and appointed offices held and standardized test scores. Students also submitted essays.
A selection committee reviewed all submissions and selected the top six students. State Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine will name two students from the finalists to serve as delegates during the program’s 45th anniversary March 3-10, 2007 in Washington, D.C. U.S. Sens. Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller, both D-W.Va., will announce the winners in December.
“This program gives students a first-hand look at how our government functions and may inspire them to pursue public service,” Paine said.
Academic performance, leadership abilities and a strong commitment to volunteer service will be considered in making a selection. Delegates also must be junior or senior elected student officers for the 2006-2007 academic year, attend school in West Virginia and be a state resident. Eligibility considerations also may be made for student representatives elected or selected to district, regional or state-level civic or educational organizations.
The two West Virginia students will join 102 other delegates from every state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense education system for a week of intensive study of the federal government and the U.S. Senate in particular. Each delegate will receive a $5,000 college scholarship and an all-expenses paid trip to Washington.
Once in Washington, students will visit Capitol Hill, the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, the U.S. Supreme Court and other highlights in Washington. They also will meet with senators, cabinet officers, government leaders and policymakers.
The leadership program was established in 1962 by Senate Resolution 324. Since then, more than 4,500 students have participated in the program, which is fully funded by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.
Contact Regina Scotchie, social studies coordinator for the West Virginia Department of Education, at (304) 558-7805 for more information.