WASHINGTON, D.C. — January 28, 2013 — Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul today announced the names of the two students who have been selected as delegates to the 51st Annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) that will be held March 9 – 16, 2013 in Washington, D.C. Kayla Rowsey of Fort Knox and Alexis Weedman of Cloverport were chosen from across the state to be part of the group of 104 student delegates who will attend the program’s 51st annual Washington Week.
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. Originally proposed by Senators Kuchel, Mansfield, Dirksen and Humphrey, 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.”
Each year this extremely competitive merit-based program brings 104 of the most outstanding high school students — two from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity — to Washington, D.C. for an intensive week-long study of the federal government and the people who lead it. The overall mission of the program is to help instill within each class of USSYP student delegates more profound knowledge of the American political process and a lifelong commitment to public service. In addition to the program week, The Hearst Foundations provide each of the 104 student delegates with a $5,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs. Transportation and all expenses for Washington Week are also provided by The Hearst Foundations, as stipulated in S.Res.324; no government funds are utilized.
Kayla Rowsey attends Fort Knox High School and serves as Student Council secretary and class representative. Kayla also serves as president of the National Honor Society and the Environmental Science Club. In addition, she has served as yearbook editor for the past two years, and is one of the newspaper editors as well this year. Kayla plays varsity soccer and also attended Girls State this summer where she was elected secretary of state. Moreover, she was named most determined in her senior class, as well as Top AP Language and U.S. History student her junior year.
Alexis Weedman attends Frederick Fraize High School and serves as Student Council vice president of the junior class. She is an honor roll student and a three-year member of her school’s academic team. She has served as a student safety ambassador and as a member of the school's Take a Stand organization. She received 5th place in the overall academic team and received the 2011 Excellence in English honor.
Chosen as alternates to the 2013 program were Ocey Holland, a resident of Louisville, who attends Southern High School and Steven Peay, a resident of Morgantown, who attends Butler County High School.
The chief educational officer in each state selects the delegates after nomination by teachers and principals. This year’s delegates were designated by Dr. Terry Holliday, Commissioner of Education.
While in Washington the student delegates will attend meetings and briefings with 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 will also tour many of the national monuments and several museums and they will stay at the historic Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.
In addition to outstanding leadership abilities and a strong commitment to volunteer work, the student delegates rank academically in the top one percent of their states among high school juniors and seniors. Now more than 5,000 strong, alumni of the program continue to excel and develop impressive qualities that are often directed toward public service. Among the many distinguished alumni are: Senator Susan Collins, the first delegate to be elected U.S. Senator; New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the first delegate to be elected governor; Congressman Cory Gardner, the first delegate to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives; former Chief Judge Robert Henry, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit; former Ambassador to West Germany Richard Burt, and former Presidential Advisors Thomas "Mack" McLarty and Karl Rove. Additional notables include former Lt. Governor of Idaho David LeRoy, former President of the Progressive Policy Institute Robert Shapiro, military officers, members of state legislatures, Foreign Service officers, top congressional staff, healthcare providers and university educators.
Members of the USSYP 2013 51st Annual Senate Advisory Committee are:
Co-Chairs — Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina. Advisory Committee — Senator Christopher A. Coons of Delaware, Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Senator Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey, Senator John Boozman of Arkansas, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. Each year, the Honorary Co-Chairs of the program are the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders and the Vice President of the United States.
For questions about your state’s delegates, alternates or selection process, please contact your state selection administrator: Ms. Donna Melton at (502)564-1473 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more general information about the United States Senate Youth Program, please contact Program Director Rayne Guilford at 800-425-3632, www.ussenateyouth.org.