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2015 United States Senate Youth Program Letter

Letter Head: Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, California Department of Education

August 12, 2014

Dear High School Principals, Counselors, and Scholarship Coordinators:

2015 UNITED STATES SENATE YOUTH PROGRAM

I am pleased to announce the fifty-third annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP). Sponsored by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, the California Department of Education (CDE) coordinates this competition for outstanding seniors or juniors who are interested in pursuing careers in public service. All public and private high schools in the state are invited to nominate up to two seniors or juniors to participate in this worthwhile opportunity.

Four finalists, consisting of two delegates and a first alternate and second alternate, will be selected by the CDE from the statewide applicants to be California’s USSYP representatives. The delegates will participate in a week of intensive study of the federal government as guests of the United States Senate from March 7–14, 2015, in Washington, D.C. The Hearst Foundation will pay all expenses for the delegates, including transportation, hotel, and meals. In addition, each of the delegates will receive a $5,000 college scholarship from the Foundation. Alternates attend the events in Washington only if the delegates are unable to participate.

Students must be nominated by their high school principal to be considered for the USSYP. Principals may nominate up to two students from their high school. Nominated students must be high school seniors or juniors currently serving in an elected or appointed capacity in a student government, civic, or educational organization. In addition, nominated students must be a permanent resident of the United States and currently enrolled in a California public or private secondary school.

Information on the 2015 USSYP may be found on the CDE USSYP Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/eo/in/us/. A hard copy is available upon request. The completed application packet containing an original and one copy of the California Student Application, California Qualifying Examination, and an unofficial student transcript must be mailed to the CDE. The mailing envelope must be postmarked by Wednesday, October 1, 2014.

Recently, I announced the release of a report, Revitalizing K–12 Civic Learning in California: A Blueprint for Action which offers recommendations to revitalize civic education in California schools. I joined California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye to establish the California Task Force on K–12 Civic Learning who prepared the report following a year of deliberations and conversations around the state. The report highlights the importance of our students gaining civic skills and ensuring that they become informed voters and community members who can make a difference. It is available on the CDE Civic Education Initiatives Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/eo/in/civicedinitiative.asp.

I believe participation in the USSYP would foster students’ interest in government and civics and encourage you to forward this information to your high school government and history teachers.

If you have any questions regarding the USSYP, please contact David Carriker, Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, by phone at 916-319-0173 or by e-mail at dcarriker@cde.ca.gov.

Sincerely,

Tom Torlakson

TT: df

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