Two Nebraska students who have been selected as delegates to the 55th annual United States Senate Youth Program in Washington, D.C.
Jacob Michael McNeill of Omaha and Matthew A. Fredricks of Alda were chosen to be among 104 student delegates who will attend the program’s 55th annual Washington Week March 4-11.
The overall mission of the program is to help grow 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. Transportation and all expenses for Washington Week are also provided by The Hearst Foundations.
The program brings two high school students 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.
McNeill attends Elkhorn South High School and serves as the student council secretary. He is captain of the school's congressional debate team. He serves on both the Mayor Jean Stothert's Youth Advisory Council and Sen. Deb Fischer's Omaha Youth Advisory Council.
“I love debate, last summer I worked on a political campaign, this is a perfect opportunity for me to see government and politicians up close and personal in action," McNeill said in a statement.
Fredricks attends Northwest High School in Grand Island, Nebraska, and serves as the Northwest Chapter president of Future Business Leaders of America. He has volunteered for the Nebraska Equestrian Special Olympics since 2012 and has met with and discussed various policy issues with representatives of the Nebraska state legislature. He currently serves on the Nebraska 3rd District Youth Advisory Council where he works with U.S. Congressman Adrian Smith.
"I like to see the big picture and look for ways to help as many people as I can," Fredricks said in a statement. "It’s so interesting to see the effect government has on so many people."
Chosen as alternates to the 2017 program were Millard North High School student Priya Kukreja of Omaha, and Nebraska City High School student Chloe Higgins of Nebraska City.
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.