For Immediate Release
January 12, 2010

Suburban Chicago Students Selected for United States Senate Youth Program

Students go to Washington, D.C. in March and will receive $5,000 Scholarship

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education joins Senators Richard J. Durbin and Roland W. Burris in congratulating two Chicago suburban high school students who have been selected as delegates to the 48th Annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) in Washington, D.C. this spring. Hayley Jones of Yorkville High School in Yorkville Consolidated Unit School District 15 and Sidanth Sapru of the Aurora-based Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy were chosen from hundreds of applicants to be among the 104 delegates headed to the nation’s capital.

"We commend these extraordinary students, as well as their teachers and parents, for garnering spots in this competitive program," said Christopher A. Koch, State Superintendent of Education. "This opportunity brings history and social studies lessons to life and allows students to see how the democratic process impacts our nation."

The USSYP was created in 1962 and has been sponsored by the Senate and fully funded by The Hearst Foundations. The program aims to instill a more profound knowledge of the American political process and a lifelong commitment to public service.

Each year the competitive, merit-based program brings 104 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.

While in Washington March 6-13, the student delegates will attend meetings and briefings with Senate leadership, other Senators and Congressional staff; the President, a Justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies, an Ambassador to the United States and members of the national media.

Hayley Jones is student council vice president at Yorkville High School. Hayley also serves as vice president of the senior class, treasurer of National Honor Society and secretary of the Illinois Leadership Alumni Board. She attended Illinois Girls State, a citizenship training program of The American Legion Auxiliary.  Hayley describes one of her greatest experiences as completing two internships this year, one with her state representative and the other with the city hall's finance department.

Sidanth Sapru is student council president at Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. He also serves as president of the Speech Team and was a state finalist in the "Original Oratory" event. Sid testified before the Illinois House of Representatives Budget Appropriations Committee representing his school and its unique educational structure. His goal is to make the world a better place through leadership and public service.

Chosen as alternates to the 2010 program were Una Lim, a resident of Chicago, who attends Northside College Preparatory High School in City of Chicago District 299 and Luke Sailer, a resident of Carmi, who attends Carmi-White County High School in Carmi-White County Consolidated Unit School District 5.

State Superintendents select the delegates after nomination by teachers and principals. In addition to outstanding leadership abilities and a strong commitment to public service, this year’s students rank academically in the top one percent of their states.

In addition to the program week, The Hearst Foundations provide each of the 104 student delegates with a $5,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs.

Among the many distinguished former program delegates are Senator Susan Collins of Maine, the first program delegate elected to the Senate; Chief Judge Robert Henry, U.S. Court of Appeals; former Ambassador to West Germany Richard Burt; former Presidential Advisors Thomas "Mack" McLarty, Karl Rove and Governor-Elect for New Jersey Christopher Christie.