U.S. Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman today congratulated Abhilasha Gokulan of Little Rock and Adam Williams of Jonesboro on being selected as Arkansas's delegates to the United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP). The two students were chosen from hundreds of applicants to attend the program's 52nd annual Washington Week.
"Abhilasha and Adam have demonstrated a steadfast commitment to their schools, communities, and to public service," said Pryor. "This program is a great opportunity for them to gain first-hand knowledge of the legislative and judicial branches while cultivating their long-term goals in civic involvement. I look forward to welcoming them to Washington, D.C."
"The commitment Abhilasha and Adam have shown to academics and their communities sets an excellent example for their peers. I am confident that they will make the most of this great opportunity to experience the inner workings of Washington and learn about the legislative process first-hand. We are proud of their accomplishments and hope this program will help to continue their drive to be leaders of the future," Boozman said.
Abhilasha Gokulan is a student at Little Rock Central High School. She serves as student representative for the Arkansas Science Olympiad Board, captain of Central's Science Olympiad team, co-president of Model UN, secretary of state at Arkansas Girls State, and senior editor of the Memory Project. Abhilasha participates in National Honor Society and Beta Club, and volunteers with Junior Civitan, Arkansas Children's Hospital, and Harmony Clinic. She was recently featured in Southern Living as a "New Hero of Civil Rights." In the future, Abhilasha would like to be a doctor involved in public policy and social justice.
Adam Williams is a student at Valley View High School and president of the Teen Advocacy Board Civic Organization. He is a member of Quiz Bowl, Model UN, National Honor Society, FBLA, JROTC, the cross country team, and a Hugh O'Brien Youth Leadership delegate. He is also active in his community, volunteering as project manager for Out of the Dark, a school and community anti-drug club; Heart and Soul 5K; peer tutoring; and the local hospital. He plans to pursue a degree in political science at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville before entering local and state politics.
Chosen as alternates to the 2014 program were Rachel Morrow of Cave Springs, who attends Bentonville High School, and Lauren Williams of Wynne, who attends Wynne High School.
While in Washington, from March 8-15, Abhilasha and Adam will join 102 other delegates to meet with Senators, Congressional staffers, the President, a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, leaders of cabinet agencies, a United States Ambassador, and members of the national media. The students will also tour many of the national monuments and museums. Each of the delegates will receive a $5,000 college scholarship, in addition to the all-expenses paid trip to Washington.
The U.S. Senate Youth Program allows two delegates, current high school seniors or juniors, from each state to be selected by the state's chief education officer in cooperation with high school principals. In addition to outstanding leadership abilities and a strong commitment to public service, the students rank academically in the top one percent of their states.