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Two West High Students Selected for Senate Youth Program

The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) has announced that high school students Mr. Arya Barkesseh and Ms. Sarah Kim will join Senator Mike Lee and Senator Mitt Romney in representing Utah in the nation’s capital during the 58th annual USSYP Washington Week, to be held March 7 — 14, 2020. Arya Barkesseh of Salt Lake City and Sarah Kim, also of Salt Lake City, were selected from among the state’s top student leaders to be part of the 104 national student delegation who will also each receive a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate study.

Arya Barkesseh, a senior at West High School, serves as the secretary of the Millcreek Youth City Council and is a main organizer of his school’s Environmental Club. He has held leadership positions in Student Government, his school’s Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) chapter and the yearbook, and has actively participated in Model UN, Mock Trial, and Academic Decathlon throughout high school years, obtaining more than 20 regional and state awards. Arya has also organized a local toy drive for a school for the deaf in Iran and knitted and sold hats with all proceeds being donated to Best Friends Animal Society.

Chosen as alternates to the 2020 program were Ms. Sydney Anne Ward, a resident of Salem, who attends Salem Hills High School and Ms. Andie Susanne Madsen, a resident of Salt Lake City, who attends West High School.

Each year this extremely competitive merit-based program brings 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.

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 Utah delegates and alternates were designated by Sydnee Dickson, Superintendent of Education.

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