Two W.Va. Students Named U.S. Senate Youth Scholars

February 06, 2009

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Two students from Monongalia and Ohio counties have been named U.S. Senate Youth Program Scholarship winners and will represent West Virginia in Washington, D.C., this spring.

Benjamin Becker of Morgantown and Vincent Tennant of Wheeling will be guests of the United States Senate March 7 to 14 as part of the program’s 47th annual Washington Week. Each delegate will receive a $5,000 scholarship from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

Becker is treasurer of his senior class and student council representative at Morgantown High School. He also serves on the executive committee of the Morgantown Youth Commission.  He attended Governor’s Honors Academy, chairs the Social Studies Club, was secretary general of Model United Nations, is a National Honor Society member, volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and Green Initiative and is on the varsity soccer team. In addition, Becker leads bingo at the local nursing home, and makes blankets for Project Linus. He is an aide at Tree of Life school, a musician and poet.  He plans to pursue psychiatry.

Tennant is senior prefect at The Linsly School, a private school in Wheeling. He also particpates in Model United Nations and this past year served as the representative from Egypt on the Economic Committee and West Virginia Young Democrats.  He started the organization Students Invoking Social Awareness, was party leader at Mountaineer Boys State, joined West Virginia Sheriff’s Youth Leadership Academy, and enjoys varsity golf. He plans to enter a liberal arts college and focus on economics, law and politics.

Chosen as alternates to the 2009 program were Aaron Pilkington, a student at Fairmont Senior High School; and Kristen Pennington, a student at George Washington High School in Charleston.

The chief educational officer in each state selects the delegates after nomination by teachers and principals. State Superintendent Steve Paine named the West Virginia delegates.

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.

While in Washington the student delegates will attend meetings and briefings with Senate leadership, other senators and Congressional staff; the president, a justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies, an ambassador to the United States and top members of the national media. The students also will tour many of the national monuments and several museums and they will stay at the historic Mayflower hotel in downtown Washington.

 “This program gives students a first-hand look at how our government functions and may inspire them to pursue public service,” Paine said.

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, or the Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699 for more information.


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