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Kentucky applications now open for U.S. Senate Youth Program for high schoolers

Two Kentucky high school students will be selected this fall as delegates to the United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP), a merit-based program that takes the most 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.

Selected students also 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 4-11, 2023, and participate in meetings and briefings with senators, the president, a justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies, other key policymakers and senior members of the media.

Program organizers will make a final determination this fall on whether the program will be online or in person.

High school teachers and principals are encouraged to nominate qualified high school juniors and seniors to apply. Applications are available online and are due Oct. 31.

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, letter of recommendation and resume as part of the application process.

Semifinalists will interview in Frankfort on Saturday, Nov. 19. Kentucky Commissioner of Education Jason E. Glass will designate two USSYP delegates and two alternates representing Kentucky. The names of selected students will be announced in early January 2023.

Arnav Dharmagadda, a Russell High School (Greenup County) student, and Lauren Wood, a student at duPont Manual High School (Jefferson County), were selected for last year’s program.

“[I]f I took one thing away from Washington Week 2022, it was a renewed belief in the spirit of bipartisanship and the integrity of our democracy,” Wood stated in a reflective essay. “As a 17-year-old who hopes to go into public service one day, hearing this theme from our nation’s leaders was invaluable to me.”

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 2023 program brochure with detailed rul