CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Last month, the 54th annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) Washington Week took place at the nation’s capital. West Virginia students Arka Gupta of George Washington High School in Charleston and Adrien Inman of Spring Mills High School in Martinsburg joined two students from each state who were selected to participate in the program.
Arka Gupta attends George Washington High School and serves as the Student Body president. He is a captain of the JROTC program, and Junior Civitan governor for West Virginia and Ohio. Arka’s interest in law has been sparked by his experience at the West Virginia Public Defender’s Office, and his dedication to community service furthered with his internship at the T.H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health. These experiences are pointing him towards a career in representing underserved populations in the United States and across the globe.
Adrien Inman attends Spring Mills High School and serves as a representative to the Student Council. Serving in this capacity for two years, he leads by example, championing causes that help his fellow citizens. As a member of Rotary Interact, and in his positions of leadership, including captain of the varsity soccer team, Adrien has worked to bring people together as a team. He is active in a wide variety of music, sports, theater, politics and community service activities, and he has also been an exchange student in China. He plans to be a Naval Officer and work for the State Department.
During Washington Week, the Hearst Foundation board of directors announced they had voted in March to increase the program scholarship from $5,000 to $10,000 per student. Washington Week is an intensive educational experience about the American government, with students learning from and being encouraged by the highest level of elected and appointed officials in the country. This year’s speakers for the program included President Barack Obama, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Secretary of the Department of Energy Ernest Moniz, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Jr., and Brian Lamb, Founder and CEO of C-SPAN, among others.
One special event of the week was a town hall-style meeting filmed by C-SPAN, where students were given the opportunity to answer questions about their experience. The event aired Sunday, April 3rd and can be viewed on the C-SPAN website at http://c-span.org/.
The USSYP was created by Senate Resolution 324 in 1962 and has been sponsored by the Senate and fully funded by The Hearst Foundations since inception. The impetus for the program as stated in Senate testimony was "to increase young Americans' understanding of the interrelationships of the three branches of government, the caliber and responsibilities of federally elected and appointed officials, and the vital importance of democratic decision making not only for America but for people around the world." Students were selected through an application process that included a test prepared by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, a formal presentation made to a committee of business leaders in the community, and an interview.
The program is open to all high school juniors and seniors. Selection is based on the students’ outstanding abilities and demonstrated qualities of leadership in an elected or appointed high school student office. For more information, contact program coordinator Allegra Kazemzadeh at the WVDE Office of Middle/Secondary Learning at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-558-5325.