The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) announces that high school students Celia Kate Kreth and Pablo Manon Mateos will join Senator John Boozman and Senator Tom Cotton in representing Arkansas in the nation’s capital during the 56th annual USSYP Washington Week, to be held March 3 — 10, 2018. Celia Kreth of Little Rock and Pablo Manon Mateos of Springdale were selected from among the state’s top student leaders to be part of the 104 national student delegation who will each receive a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate study.

The USSYP was created by Senate Resolution 324 in 1962 and has been sponsored by the Senate and fully funded by The Hearst Foundations since inception. Originally proposed by Senators Kuchel, Mansfield, Dirksen and Humphrey, the impetus for the program as stated in Senate testimony is "to increase young Americans’ understanding of the interrelationships of the three branches of government, learn the caliber and responsibilities of federally elected and appointed officials, and emphasize the vital importance of democratic decision making not only for America but for people around the world."

Each year this extremely 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 Washington, D.C. for an intensive week-long study of the federal government and the people who lead it. The overall mission of the program is to help instill within each class of USSYP student delegates more profound knowledge of the American political process and a lifelong commitment to public service. In addition to the program week, The Hearst Foundations provide each student with a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs.

Transportation and all expenses for Washington Week are also provided by The Hearst Foundations; as stipulated in S.Res.324, no government funds are utilized.

Celia Kreth attends Episcopal Collegiate School and serves as the National Honor Society president elect. Celia also serves as honor council secretary, art club president and cross country team captain. She is a member of Mu Alpha Theta, the International Current Events club, and the tennis team. Celia has attended the Yale Young Global Scholars Program, the New York Times Summer Academy, and has interned for the Arkansas lieutenant governor. She volunteered with the American Heart Association, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and the Homes for Haiti Relief fund. Celia plans to receive a bachelor’s degree, attend law school, and begin a career in government at the local level.

Pablo Manon attends Har-Ber High School where he serves as the Senior Class president. Pablo was elected senator at Boys State, is a National Merit semifinalist, National Honor Society vice president, Legacy Bank Junior Bank Board president and is also captain of Mock Trial and the swim team. Pablo is also a member of student council, Future Business Leaders of America, and the speech and debate team. He has attended the Summer @ Brown Behavioral Economics Program and is a volunteer at his Catholic church, senior citizens center, Veterans Administration, assisted living facilities, and Arkasalsa – an inclusivity festival for the community. Pablo would like to attend Yale, Georgetown, or the University of Pennsylvania to major in political science and international business.

Chosen as alternates to the 2018 program were Ms. Claire Elizabeth Bunn, a resident of Marion, who attends Marion High School and Mr. William Lawrence Robinson, a resident of Fort Smith, who attends Southside High School.

Delegates and alternates are selected by the state departments of education nationwide and the District of Columbia and Department of Defense Education Activity, after nomination by teachers and principals. The chief state school officer for each jurisdiction confirms the final selection. This year’s Arkansas delegates and alternates were designated by Mr. Johnny Key, Commissioner of Education.

While in Washington the student delegates attend meetings and briefings with senators, members of the House of Representatives, Congressional staff, the president, a justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies, an ambassador to the United States and senior members of the national media. The students will also tour many of the national monuments and several museums and they will stay at the historic Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.

In addition to outstanding leadership abilities and a strong commitment to volunteer work, the student delegates rank academically in the top one percent of their states among high school juniors and seniors. Now more than 5,500 strong, alumni of the program continue to excel and develop impressive qualities that are often directed toward public service. Among the many distinguished alumni are Senator Susan Collins, the first delegate to be elected to the Senate; Senator Cory Gardner, the first delegate to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and the second to be elected to the Senate; former Chief Judge Robert Henry, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit; former Ambassador to West Germany Richard Burt, and former presidential advisors Thomas "Mack" McLarty and Karl Rove. Additional notables include Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie, former Lt. Governor of Idaho David Leroy, former President of the Progressive Policy Institute Robert Shapiro, military officers, members of state legislatures, Foreign Service officers, top congressional staff, healthcare providers and university educators.

Members of the U. S. Senate Youth Program 2018 annual Senate Advisory Committee are: Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, Republican Co-Chair; Senator Angus S. King, Jr. of Maine, Independent Co- Chair; Bipartisan Senate Advisory Members: John Barrasso, M.D. (R-WY), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Joe Manchin III (D-WV), Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Brian Schatz (D-HI). Each year, the Honorary Co-Chairs of the program are the vice president of the United States and the Senate majority and minority leaders. For more information please see: www.ussenateyouth.org

For general information about the United States Senate Youth Program: Program Director Ms. Rayne Guilford (800) 425-3632 or rguilford@hearstfdn.org. Also see www.ussenateyouth.org.