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Two students named to U.S. Senate Youth Program

Posted: December 22, 2011 - 1:05am

Samuel Kurland, a junior at Juneau-Douglas High School, and Michael Tappel, a junior at Holy Rosary Academy in Anchorage, have been named Alaska’s delegates to the United States Senate Youth Program.

Named as first alternate is Gates Failing, a senior at Ketchikan High School; the second alternate is Trevor Woodhouse, a senior at Anchorage Christian School.

Since 1962 the U.S. Senate Youth Program has provided opportunities for academically talented young people with demonstrated leadership abilities to deepen their understanding of America’s political process. Participating students are selected for their academic excellence, leadership abilities, and commitment to public service.

Two student delegates from each state, the District of Columbia, and Department of Defense schools will participate in an intensive week-long educational program in Washington, D.C., in March. Students will hear policy addresses from senators, cabinet members, officials of the Departments of State and Defense, and directors of federal agencies. Students will also meet a Supreme Court justice. Members of the military serve as mentors.

In addition, each student receives a $5,000 scholarship. The program, including all expenses for the week in Washington, is funded by the Hearst Foundation.

Kurland serves as Associated Student Body president, as a youth advocate to the Juneau Youth Court, and as editor-in-chief of a student newspaper. He is a member of the National Honor Society, participating in community service functions. He served as the student representative to the Juneau Board of Education, interned for state Rep. Beth Kerttula, and served as the Senior Boy Scout Patrol Leader, coordinating the troop’s community service projects.

Tappel is head boy at his school, an archdiocesan youth representative, and a student ambassador to the Archdiocese of Anchorage’s Faith and Development Council. He is the school’s head cantor and performs at community events. He volunteers at hospitals by reading to sick children, serves meals at homeless shelters, and entertains residents at retirement homes. Tappel intends to establish a school debate team and newspaper.

Alaska students interested in applying for the 2013 program should see www.ussenateyouth.org. Applications are generally available in early September.

For more information, contact Program Coordinator Shari Paul at 465-6535 or shari.paul@alaska.gov.

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