Shubh Gupta, a junior at duPont Manual High School (Jefferson County) and Alex Marion Young, a junior at Saint Xavier High School in Louisville, were selected to participate in the United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) during the 59th annual USSYP Washington Week, to be held March 14-17.

Gupta and Young were selected from among the state’s top student leaders to be part of the 104-student national delegation.

Chosen as alternates to the 2021 program were Bailey Wilson, a junior at Franklin-Simpson High School (Simpson County) and Claire Pinkston, a senior at Woodford County High School.

The USSYP was created by Senate Resolution 324 in 1962. The merit-based program brings 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 weeklong study of the federal government and the people who lead it. Due to the pandemic, the 2021 program will break ground as the first fully virtual Washington Week, and is designed to be a highly interactive and exciting education and leadership forum for the nation’s most outstanding student leaders.

Delegates and alternates are selected by the Kentucky Department of Education after nomination by teachers and principals.

“The U.S. Senate Youth Foundation creates experiences that engage, inspire and unlock leadership potential,” said Commissioner of Education Jason E. Glass. “This deeper understanding of government is perhaps more critical now than ever before. I know these students will emerge from this experience well-positioned to become active citizens who will make positive differences in their communities, states and nation.”

The overall mission of the program is to help instill within each class of student delegates a 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 and encouragement to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs.

Gupta serves as president of the Math Honor Society and as an officer of the Science Olympiad team at his school. He also is the chief operating officer of STEMY, a local student-run nonprofit dedicated to breaking gender, racial and socioeconomic barriers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education. Through STEMY, he has brought engaging math lessons to local middle schools and organized a citywide math video contest.

Gupta also is co-president of the speech and debate team and has championed several local and national tournaments in original oratory and informative speaking. He has brought his love for speech to his community by hosting in-person and virtual public speaking workshops and helping other students across the state start their own workshops.

Young serves as the speaker of the house at the Kentucky Youth Assembly (KYA), an annual youth legislative conference dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of civics and state politics. He formerly served as the KYA’s Bluegrass Senate president and lieutenant governor at the conference. For the past five years, he has led the bipartisan effort in the Kentucky General Assembly to end the use of corporal punishment in schools.

Young also advocated in support of the Tobacco-Free Youth Act, which raised the minimum tobacco product purchase age to 21. In addition to his advocacy, he has assumed leadership roles at Saint Xavier in the school’s service club, student Y chapter and student advisory panel.

During the program week, the student delegates will attend online meetings and briefings with senators, President Joseph R. Biden, a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies and senior members of the national media.

In addition to outstanding leadership abilities and a strong commitment to volunteer work, the student delegates rank academically in the top 1% of their states among high school juniors and seniors.