Topeka – Two Kansas students have been selected as delegates to the 60th annual US Senate youth program to be held approximately March 6-9, 2022.
Gerrit Dangermound, a junior student at Oscaloosa High School, Oscaloosa Unified School District 341, and William Ross, a student at La Crosse High School, $395 La Crosse, have been selected to join the delegation of 104 students who will actually attend Washington Week. Each will receive a college scholarship of $10,000 with encouragement to pursue coursework in government, history, and public affairs.
Dangermound is the vice president of his junior class at Oscaloosa High School. He is active in school and community activities and enjoys spending his spare time getting to know his peers and working at the local food bank.
Dangermound plans to teach social sciences in high school after graduating from college.
Rues serves as president of the National Honor Society at La Crosse High. He has also held various leadership positions in his school and competes in cross country and track. Rose recently had the opportunity to be a delegate for Boise and served in the Senate.
Rues plans to attend the University of Kansas (KU) on an Air Force ROTC scholarship and major in history. After serving in the Air Force, Ross plans to go back to college to get his Ph.D. in European history.
They were chosen as an alternative to the 2022 program Kevin Nguyen, who lives in Topeka and attends Seaman High School, Seaman USD 345, and Andrew Fallen, who lives in Lawrence and attends Lawrence High School, Lawrence USD 497.
Delegates and alternates are selected by state departments of education, after nominating teachers and school administrators. The chief public school official or education commissioner for each jurisdiction confirms the final selection.
In Kansas, applicants are required to pass a multiple-choice test based on state and national government and write an essay. This year, the Kansas Department of Education received 45 applications. Tests and essays are ranked, and the top four applicants are selected. Delegates and alternates are authorized by the Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson.
In years past, the merit-based competitive program has been sending 104 outstanding high school students—two from each state, the District of Columbia and a Department of Defense education activity—to Washington, D.C., for a week-long intensive study of the federal government and the people who lead it. However, due to the pandemic, this year student delegates will attend online meetings and briefings with senators, the president, a Supreme Court judge, government agency leaders and others.
The USSYP was established by Senate Resolution 324 in 1962 and has been Senate sponsored and fully funded by The Hearst Foundations from the start. The motivation for the program as stated in Senate testimony is to “increase young Americans’ understanding of the interrelationships among the three branches of government, knowledge of the caliber and responsibilities of elected and federally appointed officials, and stress the vital importance of democratic decision-making not only to America but to people around the world.”
The overall mission of the program is to help inculcate greater knowledge within each class of USSYP student delegates of the American political process and a lifelong commitment to public service. Hearst Foundations offers each student a college scholarship of $10,000.
In addition to outstanding leadership abilities and a strong commitment to volunteerism, student delegates rank academically in the top 1% of their states among junior high school seniors. Now over 6000 graduates from the programme, they go on to excel and develop the remarkable qualities that are often geared toward public service.
For questions about delegates, alternates, or the selection process, contact Tamla Miller, the Kansas Senate Youth Coordinator for the Kansas Department of Education (KSDE), at [email protected] or (785) 296-4950.
For more information about USSYP, visit www.ussenateyouth.org.