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Press Release

BISMARCK, N.D., Dec. 5, 2022 – North Dakota State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler announced Monday that Gavin Kratcha, a junior at Hankinson High School, and Will Nelson, a Jamestown High School senior, have been named as North Dakota’s delegates for the U.S. Senate Youth Program.

The honor includes a $10,000 college scholarship and the right to attend a weeklong leadership program in Washington, D.C., in March 2023.

Kratcha and Nelson were chosen by a group of Department of Public Instruction evaluators who interviewed the eight scholarship hopefuls and reviewed their applications. Two other seniors were named as alternates: Annelise Klein, of Bismarck Century High School, and Zoe Bundy, of Fargo Davies High School.

“These were difficult decisions. North Dakota is fortunate to have such outstanding young leaders in our communities,” Baesler said. “Our NDDPI evaluators were greatly impressed with all of the nominees, their essays, and the thoughtful responses they gave in interviews.”

The student applications included lists of their leadership and academic awards, examples of their community and public service, and essays about North Dakota historical figures that the students believed were significantly underrepresented in the state’s high school history curricula.

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.

It features a “Washington Week” program, intended to provide student participants a way to gain in-depth knowledge of Congress and the relationship between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government. The program includes briefings from the president, senators, a Supreme Court justice, cabinet members, federal agency leaders, and members of the national media.

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 serve as delegates to the U.S. Senate Youth Program. The $10,000 scholarships are provided by the Hearst Foundations, which were founded by media baron William Randolph Hearst.

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