The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) has selected a local student to represent the state of Missouri at the nation’s capital during the 56th annual USSYP Washington Week starting Saturday.
The extremely competitive national merit-based program brings only 104 of the most outstanding high school students within the country. Two students are chosen from each state and travel to Washington, D.C. for an intensive week-long study of the federal government and the people who are its leaders.
Catherine Ree Miller of St. Louis was one of the two Missouri students selected to represent the state. She currently attends Visitation Academy, an all girls Catholic private school in the City of St. Louis and participates in Visitation’s National Honor Society, Spectrum: Peace and Justice club, and her school newspaper, Paper Moon.
In addition, Miller is also active in local environmental groups including the Missouri Botanical Gardens and the St. Louis Zoo, where she serves as a teen volunteer leader.
The programing’s overall mission is to help install each student with a more profound knowledge of the country’s political progress and a lifelong commitment to public service.
In addition, each student is provided with a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue their work in government, public affairs and history.
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 Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.
Cameron Gehlert of Linn High School was the other Missouri student who was chosen and serves as the student body president. He also serves as president of the senior class, vice president of Future Farmers of America, secretary of the National Art Honor Society and president of his school’s environmental and history clubs.
Both Miller and Gehlert will join also join U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. and Roy Blunt, R-Mo. in representing Missouri during the event which runs from March 3 to March 10.
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 Missouri delegates and alternates were designated by Education Commissioner Dr. Margaret M. Vandeven.