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

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 25, 2017) – Two Oklahoma high school students have been named this year’s state delegates to the 55th annual U.S. Senate Youth Program (USSYP), which brings together two student leaders from every state and Washington D.C. for a week-long trip to the nation’s capital.

Pranoy Behera of Bartlesville High School and Andrew (Drew) Hill of Norman North High School will join 102 other delegates from around the country March 4-11 in Washington D.C. 

“I applaud the accomplishments of these two Oklahoma students and am confident they will have a once-in-a-lifetime experience learning the ins and outs of our federal government in Washington D.C.,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. “Pranoy and Drew’s numerous academic achievements and records of service within their local communities exemplify student excellence in Oklahoma.”

Pranoy Behera & Drew Hill

Behera serves as president of his school’s chapter of the National Honor Society and regional ambassador for the National Society of High School Scholars. He also volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma and the symphonic orchestra. Recently selected as a National Merit semifinalist, Behera also enjoys speech and debate class and plays violin in his school’s honor orchestra.

Hill was elected president of his senior class and currently serves as state president of the Oklahoma Association of Student Councils. He is a graduate of Youth Leadership Oklahoma and the West Point Summer Leaders Experience seminar and serves as the ambassador for the High School Leadership Conference. Hill, a member of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council at the Oklahoma State Department of Education, is captain of his varsity cross-country team and enjoys playing classical guitar.

Jennifer Litchfield from Carl Albert High School in Midwest City and Louis Jackson from MacArthur High School in Lawton were chosen as alternates.

During their trip to Washington D.C. this spring, Behera and Hill will meet with prominent officials from every branch of government and related fields, including members of Congress, congressional staff, the President, a Supreme Court justice, leaders of cabinet agencies, an ambassador to the United States and members of the national media.

Both students were chosen by Superintendent Hofmeister after a rigorous application process that adhered to high standards set by the USSYP. 

The USSYP has been sponsored by the U.S. Senate and fully funded by the Hearst Foundation since its inception in 1962. The stated goal of USSYP 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 people around the world.”

Behera and Hill will also receive a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue their studies in government, history and public affairs.

Editor’s note: Photos of Behera and Hill are available upon request.

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Last updated on January 25, 2017