CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Test dates are fast approaching for West Virginia high school students who hope to participate in the annual United States Senate Youth Program.
The test date is slated for Sept. 15 this year with Sept. 16-19 as make-up days. All completed tests and student information must be returned to the West Virginia Department of Education by Sept. 23.
Semi-finalists will be named later this year and asked to submit letters of recommendation, transcripts, school activities, community service, schedules, elected and appointed offices held and standardized test scores. Students also may submit essays.
A selection committee will then review all submissions and select the top six students. State Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine will name two students from the finalists to serve as delegates in the 46th United States Senate Youth Program to be held March 7-14, 2009, in Washington, D.C. U.S. Sens. Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller, both D-W.Va., will announce the winners in December.
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 2008-2009 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) 558-5325 for more information. Additional program information can be found on the U.S. Senate Youth Program Web site at www.ussenateyouth.org .