Hofmeister praises Oklahoma students chosen for prestigious U.S. Senate Youth Program



OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 30, 2015) – Two Oklahoma high school students have been named this year’s state delegates to the prestigious 54th annual U.S. Senate Youth Program (USSYP).

Nathan Levit, a senior at Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, and Matthew Welborn, a senior at Norman North High School, will join 102 other delegates from around the country for an exclusive week this spring in Washington D.C.

Pranoy Behera from Bartlesville High School and Caleb Morrow from Altus High School were chosen as alternates.

“I am proud of the accomplishments of these distinguished students. Their exemplary academic achievement combined with dedicated community service has well prepared them for this unique honor and opportunity,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Hofmeister said.  “Across the course of this program, many of the alumni have gone on to become leaders at all levels of government, business and philanthropic endeavors. These distinguished students are without question some of Oklahoma's finest leaders of tomorrow.”

Levit serves as president of the Model UN, senior student council representative, president of the Washington Economics Society, and is co-captain of the golf team.  He is the founder and president of Youth for Action and the regional vice president for the Jewish teen leadership organization BBYO. Levit has worked in multiple local political campaigns. He plans to attend law school and work in Washington D.C.

Welborn is president of the Norman North student council and is a member of the National Honor Society and the National Technical Honor Society. He is active in youth leadership in Norman as a member of the City of Norman Youth Council, the Chamber of Commerce Tomorrow’s Leaders Program, and the United Way Teen Advisors of Norman. Welborn runs his own tutoring company and is currently tutoring 14 students. Welborn also attends Moore-Norman Technology Center’s Engineering Program. He plans to earn an engineering degree and attend law school.

Both were nominated by the Oklahoma State Department of Education after going through an application process that adhered to high standards set by the USSYP. 

On March 5, two student leaders from every U.S. state, Washington D.C. and the U.S. Department of Defense school system will arrive in the nation’s capital for a week-long look at how the country functions. They will meet with prominent officials from every branch of government and related fields, including members of Congress, the President, a Supreme Court justice, an ambassador and members of the media.

Each will also receive a $5,000 undergraduate college scholarship.

The USSYP has been sponsored by the U.S. Senate and fully funded by The Hearst Foundation since its inception in 1962. Alumni of the program include Robert Henry, former U.S. judge, state legislator and attorney general. He is the current president of Oklahoma City University. Other alumni include New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; Richard Burt, former ambassador to West Germany; Thomas “Mack” McLarty, chief of staff for President Clinton; Karl Rove, deputy chief of staff for President Bush; Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, and Sen. Gory Gardner of Colorado.

Delegates generally rank academically in the top percent of their states, and they have shown great leadership ability and a commitment to volunteer work.

For more information on the USSYP in Oklahoma, visit http://sde.ok.gov/sde/social-studies#USSYP.

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Last updated on December 30, 2015