State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler announced Friday that Lauren Beck, a senior at Bismarck’s Legacy High School, and Oakes High School junior Brianna Schmitz have been chosen as North Dakota’s delegates for the U.S. Senate Youth Program.
Acceptance into the program includes a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship for each delegate and an invitation to a weeklong March 2024 leadership program in Washington, D.C., during which they will gain in-depth knowledge of Congress and the relationship between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government.
Delegates will hear speeches by senators, cabinet members and federal agency directors, and may take part in meetings with the president and a U.S. Supreme Court justice.
Alex Ternes, a Bismarck Legacy senior, and Madeline Abbott, a senior at Fargo’s Shanley High School, were chosen as alternate delegates.
Twenty North Dakota high school juniors and seniors applied to be considered as U.S. Senate Youth Program delegates. Beck, Schmitz, Ternes and Abbott were chosen by a group of Department of Public Instruction evaluators who interviewed six finalists and reviewed their applications.
“We were pleased to have so many high-quality applicants, and our NDDPI evaluators had to make some difficult decisions as they read the students’ essays and questioned the finalists,” Baesler said. “They were exceptionally impressed by all of the students and the work they put into their applications.”
The student applications included lists of their leadership and academic awards, examples of their community and public service, and essays about how best to improve North Dakota’s education system and foster dialogue among student groups.
The U.S. Senate Youth Program was established in 1962 to offer a study and scholarship opportunity for outstanding high school students who are interested in public service careers.
Two high school juniors or seniors are selected each year from each of the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense’s education system to be delegates to the U.S. Senate Youth Program. The $10,000 scholarships and expenses for the Washington leadership program are provided by the Hearst Foundations, which were founded by media baron William Randolph Hearst.