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Caleb Weiland -South Dakota Delegate for United States Senate Youth Program
Caleb Weiland -South Dakota Delegate for United States Senate Youth Program
Dustin Degen
Monday, December 16, 2019

South Dakota Students Selected for United States Senate Youth Program Students Headed to Washington, D. C. and to Receive $10,000 College Scholarship

January 9, 2020, Washington, D.C. —The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) announces that high school students Mr. Richard Scott Howard and Mr. Caleb Joseph Weiland will join Senator John Thune and Senator Michael Rounds in representing South Dakota in the nation’s capital during the 58th annual USSYP Washington Week, to be held March 7 — 14, 2020. Richard Howard of Hartford and Caleb Weiland of Beresford 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 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. The overall mission of the 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.

Richard Scott Howard, a senior at West Central High School, serves as the Senior Class president and the Quiz Bowl captain. He is a writer and editor-in-chief for The Teenage Take. His community involvement includes being a contributor to the social network community blog, The Liberty Hawk, and being a volunteer at the Trojan Reading Bowl. Scott's future plans include bachelor's degrees in political science and economics and eventually serving in the United States House of Representatives.

Caleb Weiland, a senior at Beresford High School, serves as the Student Body president. His extracurricular activities include Spanish club, debate team, cross country, track, marching band, Student Congress, Future Farmers of America, drama club, 4-H, theater and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Caleb's community involvement includes working with the local food pantry, Feeding South Dakota, Fall Bazaar committee, Bishop Dudley House, Children's Miracle Network, and a mission trip to Houston, Texas helping with Hurricane Harvey recovery. He also helped organize a benefit for a fellow community member struggling with a recent cancer diagnosis. Caleb plans to attend the University of South Dakota to study political science and Spanish and then obtain a graduate degree in Constitutional law.

Chosen as alternates to the 2020 program were Ms. Logan Elizabeth Keszler, a resident of Hayti, who attends Hamlin High School and Mr. Ryan Michael Peldo, a resident of Spearfish, who attends Spearfish High School.

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 South Dakota delegates and alternates were designated by Benjamin F. Jones, Ph.D, Secretary of Education.

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.

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 5,700 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 alumnus to be elected U.S. senator; Senator Cory Gardner, the second alumnus to be elected U.S. senator and the first to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives; former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the first alumnus to be elected governor; former Chief Judge Robert Henry, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit; former Ambassador to West Germany Richard Burt, former presidential advisors Thomas "Mack" McLarty and Karl Rove, and Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana currently a candidate for president of the United States. Additional notables include former Lt. Governor of Idaho David Leroy, Provost of Wake Forest University Rogan Kersh, military officers, members of state legislatures, Foreign Service officers, top congressional staff, healthcare providers and other university educators.

For more information please visit: www.ussenateyouth.org