Students Headed to Washington, D. C. and to Receive $10,000 Scholarships

Washington, D.C. — The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) announces that high school students Ms. Hali Wei Kapperud and Ms. Abigail Whitney Roston will join Senator Jon Tester and Senator Steve Daines in representing Montana in the nation’s capital during the 56th annual USSYP Washington Week, to be held March 3 — 10, 2018. Hali Kapperud of Rudyard and Abigail Roston of Kalispell 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.
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.

Hali Kapperud is a senior at North Star High School in Rudyard, has been chosen as a delegate to the U.S. Senate Youth Program. (Photo provided by OPI)

Hali Kapperud is a senior at North Star High School and is the state president of the Montana Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). Her additional leadership roles include student council secretary-treasurer and parliamentarian for her school’s Business Professionals of America and SkillsUSA. She’s been selected for Honor Choir four consecutive years, is a photographer, and a student athlete participating in basketball and track and field. In her community, she has served over 150 hours of community service. Hali's college plans are to study biomedical science or secondary education for family and consumer sciences.
Abigail Roston attends Glacier High School and serves as the president of her school's National Honor Society. She has a passion for social justice, particularly prison reform. She intends on majoring in legal studies and pursuing a career in criminal law. Abigail is a legislative debater who is all state and a five-time champion. Additionally, she is the chairwoman of Montana's High School Democrats of America. Abigail has over 150 hours of community service, is the youth coordinator for Farm Hands, and was the lead campaign intern for Governor Bullock and Denise Juneau.

Chosen as alternates to the 2018 program were Ms. Katelin Elling, a resident of Bozeman, who attends Bozeman High School and Ms. Audrey Grace Pettit, a resident of Missoula, who attends Loyola Sacred Heart High School.
The overall mission of the U.S. Senate Youth 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 Montana delegates and alternates were designated by Ms. Elsie Arntzen, Superintendent of Public Instruction.
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, 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