Students Earn Spots in Senate Youth Program

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Joshua Jones, a senior at Kubasaki High School in Okinawa, Japan, and Michael Zachau Walker, a junior at Ankara High School in Turkey, were selected from among hundreds of applicants to attend the Washington Week program.

Each year, the 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 the nation's capital for an intensive week-long study of the federal government and the people who lead it.

In addition to the program week, the foundation grants each of the 104 student delegates a $5,000 college scholarship with encouragement to continue course work in government, history and public affairs.

Jones, student-body president at Kubasaki High School, is an Eagle Scout and a member of the National Honor Society and Model United Nations. He said he plans to attend Brigham Young University in Utah and study to become a criminal-justice lawyer. He also wants to serve in the Marine Corps and run for public office, with the goal of becoming a U.S. senator.

"Josh is a scholar, an athlete and a leader and a compassionate person who freely volunteers his time to a number of causes," said Steven Sanchez, principal of Kubasaki High School. "Josh has demonstrated the ability, the motivation and potential to succeed at the college level."

Walker is student-body treasurer at Ankara High School and is involved in student activities that include student council, basketball, yearbook, musical theater, Model United Nations and various community service projects. After graduation, he said, he plans on attending a university in New England and majoring in political science and international relations. In the future, he plans on practicing law, becoming a judge and possibly working for the Foreign Service.

"Michael is a strong natural leader and organizer," said Kathleen Reiss, principal of Ankara Elementary/High School. "Michael is the first to say that being a leader is about the responsibility to others."

Chosen as alternates to the 2010 program were Nichole Woodcock, who attends Menwith Hill High School in North Yorkshire, England, and Ryan Resch, who attends Ramstein High School in Ramstein Village, Germany.

While in Washington, the student delegates will attend meetings and briefings with Senate leadership, senators and congressional staff, the president, a Supreme Court justice, Cabinet leaders, an ambassador and top members of the national media.

The students also will tour many of the national monuments and several museums.

In addition to leadership abilities and a commitment to public service, this year's students rank academically in the top 1 percent of their states.

Created in 1962, the U.S. Senate Youth Program has been sponsored by the Senate and fully funded by The Hearst Foundation since its inception.

(From a Department of Defense Education Activity news release.)