CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Azeem Khan was sitting in English class in December when he kept receiving texts from Adam Pack.
Khan, a junior at George Washington High School in Charleston, knew it must have been something important. Turns out it was important news from Pack, a senior at George Washington High School (GWHS). He wanted to let Khan know the two had been selected to the 2019 United States Senate Youth Program.
“We kind of thought that one of us was going to be selected but the other wouldn’t because we were both from the same school,” Pack said. “We were both really pleased that both of us were selected.”
The two GWHS students were two of six state finalists for the program, which also rewards a $10,000 college scholarship for each participant. Pack and Khan will be in Washington D.C. March 2 to 9 for the 57th annual program along with the other 102 students from the national delegation.
According to the program’s website, 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.
Khan said going to the nation’s capital is exciting with his interest in politics and added he is looking forward to meeting students from across the country with similar interests.
“We made a group chat on GroupMe and have been texting with everyone on there,” Khan said of all the participants in the program. “Something that has been cool for us is we have obviously talk about politics and current events. Any time you do that, there will be differing opinions, but everyone has been pretty civil.”
Alternates in West Virginia for the program were Amy Anastasia Jones-Burdick from Huntington High School and Molly Pennington from Ravenswood High School. Two students from every state were selected along with two students from Washington D.C. and two international students.
Pack said having two students selected from the same school in W.Va. says a lot about GWHS.
“I think it’s definitely one of the best high schools in the state,” he said. “We excel in academics and in sports and we produce really well-rounded people that are able to do some amazing things.”
Pack added that the teachers and administration at GWHS were very helpful throughout the application process for the program, which included multiple stages. Applicants start with a written application stating details about themselves and activities done at GWHS. After making it through that process there is a testing stage with questions about U.S. history, the government and current events.
The third stage is an interview process at the state Supreme Court of Appeals that the six remaining finalists were selected to participate in. Each finalist was given a question about the constitution or foreign policy and asked to present a five-minute presentation in front of judges, according to Pack. Per the program, delegates and alternates are selected by the state departments of education nationwide and the District of Columbia and Department of Defense Education Activity.
Pack serves as the vice president of Beta Club at GWHS as well as an officer for Model UN, Recycling Club, and Junior Civitans. In athletics at the school, he is a member of the track team and co-captain of the state champion soccer team. Pack was selected as First Team All-State in soccer and is a National AP Scholar and active with Bible Center Church.
Khan is the vice president of the Student Council at GWHS along with being the president of the school’s Young Democrats. He is a member of the Beta Club and in athletics, Khan is on the varsity tennis team and is a two-time state tennis champion.
Pack said he plans to attend Georgetown University in the fall and wants to major in something with international relations and minor in political science. While Khan is still a junior, he said he does not know exactly where he wants to go for undergraduate studies but wants to major in political science or something related and plans to go to law school afterward.
For more information on the program visit: www.ussenateyouth.org.