Pilgrim senior Sophia Kate Carter is excited about meeting Vice President Pence, although, as she is one of 104 high school students from across the nation selected for the honor, she doubts she will get to ask him a question.
Sophia and Taliq Tillman of Providence were selected from among the state’s top student leaders to participate in the United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) 56th annual Washington Week, to be held March 3 to 10.
Sophia, president of her class, editor of the school newspaper, and member of the environmental club has long been involved in leadership roles. She participated in the Rhode Island Model Legislature as well as the Women’s March. In Model Legislature, she was elected as Senate Liberal Party leader for two years in a row, and attended American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation in Washington, D.C. last summer. Sophia is looking at Boston College for under graduate work and is considering law and a career as a legislator or political organizer.
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.
Sophia said she was interviewed by a panel from the Rhode Island Department of Education where she talked about her extra curricular activities and future goals.
“I’m grateful,” she said of her selection, “my parents are very excited especially because it’s a $10,000 scholarship,” she said.
She has also applied to attend a leadership conference sponsored by Coca Cola that carries a $20,000 scholarship. She said she is one of 190,000 who applied that have been whittled down to 2,000 semi-finalists. A total of 250 students will be selected, she said.