Posted: Monday, December 11, 2017

Henry Lear, a junior at Southside High SchoolHenry Lear, a junior at Southside High School, is one of two students selected as delegates to the 56th Annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) that will be held March 3–10, 2018, in Washington, D.C. Henry currently serves as the Junior Class President and captain of the Congressional Debate Team at Southside. He is the son of Kelley and Mike Lear. The second delegate selected is Harshini Abbaraju, a senior at Connections Academy.

"Harshini and Henry are exemplary students and should be commended for their interest in public service. I would like to congratulate them on this prestigious honor and look forward to their future accomplishments,” said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman.

The USSYP was created by Senate Resolution 324 in 1962 and has been sponsored by the Senate and fully funded by the Hearst Foundation since its inception. The program was established “to increase young Americans’ understanding of the interrelationships of the three branches of government, the caliber and responsibilities of federally elected and appointed officials, and 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. 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 student delegates attending Washington Week, the Hearst Foundation will provide each of the 104 student delegates with a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue their educational coursework in government, history and public affairs. Transportation and all expenses for Washington Week will be provided by the Hearst Foundation. No government funds are utilized.

The United States Senate Co-Chairs of the 56th annual United States Senate Youth Program are Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) and Senator Angus S. King, Jr. (I-ME). The chief educational officer in each state selects the delegates after nominations by school principals and school USSYP counselors. This year’s delegates were designated by State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman.

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