Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue announced that Thomasville City Scholars Academy senior Jacob Cone is one of two students who have been selected as delegates to the 55th annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) that will be held March 4 — 11, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Cone was chosen from across the state to be part of the group of 104 student delegates who will attend the program’s 55th annual Washington Week.
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 104 of 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.
Jacob Cone attends Thomasville High Scholars Academy has served as the School Council president. Jacob has attended the state of Georgia's Center for Civic Engagement’s Youth Assembly Conference each of his years in high school, and is a member of Georgia’s Superintendent Student Advisory Council. He is an Eagle Scout and has been the huddle leader of his high school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes since 2013. Jacob plans to pursue an undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia's School of Public and International Affairs. He hopes to attend law school and pursue his interest in lobbying for veterans' affairs and agriculture, and eventually represent rural Southern Georgia in the political arena.
Delegates 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 Georgia delegates and alternates were designated by Mr. Richard Woods, Georgia's School Superintendent.
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. The students will also tour many of the national monuments and several museums and they will stay at the historic Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.
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 5,500 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 delegate to be elected to the Senate; Senator Cory Gardner, the first delegate to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and the second to be elected to the Senate; former Chief Judge Robert Henry, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit; former Ambassador to West Germany Richard Burt, and former presidential advisors Thomas "Mack" McLarty and Karl Rove. Additional notables include Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie, former Lt. Governor of Idaho David Leroy, former President of the Progressive Policy Institute Robert Shapiro, military officers, members of state legislatures, Foreign Service officers, top congressional staff, healthcare providers and university educators.
Members of the U. S. Senate Youth Program 2017 annual Senate Advisory Committee are: Senator Roger F. Wicker of Mississippi, Republican Co-Chair; Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Democratic Co-Chair; Bipartisan Senate Advisory Members: Senators Bill Cassidy MD (R-LA), Joni K. Ernst (R-IA), James M. Inhofe (R-OK), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Christopher S. Murphy (D-CT) and Jon Tester (D-MT). Each year, the Honorary Co-Chairs of the program are the vice president of the United States and the Senate majority and minority leaders.