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Education Activity Names Delegates to Senate Youth Program

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2009 – Two students who attend Department of Defense Education Activity schools in Europe will attend the 47th U.S. Senate Youth Program’s “Washington Week” in March.

Michael Boone of Kaiserslautern High School in Germany and Luke Morange of David Glasgow Farragut High School in Rota, Spain, will join 102 other students from around the United States in the nation’s capital March 7 for what some program alumni have called a “life-changing” experience, Rayne Guilford, Senate Youth Program director, said.

While all delegates rank academically in the top 1 percent of students their state, they also had to meet one very important criterion, Guilford said.

“They are selected, first of all, on the basis that they have already shown a demonstrated commitment to public service,” she said. “You have to be serving in either an elected or appointed capacity with constituencies of some nature.”

Boone is the student government president at Kaiserslautern High School. He’s also a member of National Honor Society, plays varsity tennis and basketball, and is interested in pursuing an undergraduate degree in environmental engineering.

Morgan is student council president at David Glasgow Farragut High School. In addition to being a member of National Honor Society and the football team, he has participated in Missouri Boys State, an American Legion-sponsored program that exposes students to government. He plans to attend the U.S. Naval Academy and serve as a Marine Corps officer.

Guilford said “Washington Week” exposes the delegates to the highest-level elected officials in the country, including Senate leadership and most U.S. senators. And since President John F. Kennedy met with the program’s first delegates in 1962, she added, every president has followed suit.

The visit also will include meetings with a Supreme Court justice and Cabinet secretaries or agency directors who will talk with the students about different paths in public service, Guilford said. The sessions usually include question-and-answer sessions, she noted.

The delegates even have a chance to chat up their state’s U.S. senators during a reception in the middle of the week.

“Many of [the senators] spend a good amount of time getting to know them and congratulating them and encouraging them,” Guilford said. “Some students are hired from this to be interns in Senate offices.”

The students also will visit the Pentagon before laying a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknowns. Chaperoned by their military mentors who serve as guides and role models, the students also will get to take in some of the historical sites around the city.

The students are encouraged to use the $5,000 scholarship they receive as part of the program to continue studies in government, history and public affairs as part of their undergraduate studies.

More than 4,700 high school juniors or seniors have spent a week each spring in Washington learning the ins and outs of the American political process since the program began. The William Randolph Hearst Foundation makes it possible with a budget of just under $2 million.

“The original resolution stipulates ‘no government funds shall be utilized,’” Guilford explained.

Elizabeth Anja Hartmann of Lakenheath High School in England and Michael V. Santivesci of Kubaski High School in Japan have been chosen as alternate delegates from DoDEA.

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Related Sites:
U.S. Senate Youth Program
Department of Defense Education Activity

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