Two Oklahoma high school students will travel to Washington D.C. in March as Oklahoma’s delegates to the 52nd Annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP).
Ryan Chapman from Norman North High School in the Norman Public Schools District and Gloria Tso from Bartlesville High School in the Bartlesville Public Schools District are Oklahoma's delegates.
Otuoze Baiye from Bartlesville High School and Javonte Baker from Edmond Santa Fe High School in the Edmond Public Schools district were chosen as alternates.
The Oklahoma State Department of Education nominated several of the state’s top students, who were initially recommended by their principals, for the program.
“What a wonderful opportunity for these students who have earned it with their hard work, leadership skills and willingness to volunteer,” State Superintendent Janet Barresi said. “I know these bright young minds will go on to do great things because of their drive and initiative.”
The United States Senate Youth program selects 104 delegates every year from every state, Washington, D.C., and U.S. military bases. Students who are chosen to be delegates must show strong leadership skills, volunteer regularly and be in the top 1 percent of their state’s high school juniors and seniors academically.
Delegates will spend one week in Washington March 8-15. They will attend meetings with senators, the president, a justice of the Supreme Court, an ambassador and other top political and media figures. The goal of the program is to teach delegates about the importance of public service and encourage them to pursue it as a career and area of study.
All expenses for the trip are covered by The Hearst Foundations. All 104 delegates will also receive $5,000 college scholarships from The Hearst Foundations.
OSDE Director of Social Studies Education in the Office of Instruction Kelly Curtright oversees the state-level aspects of the program in Oklahoma.