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12/5/2012
Clark of Klawock an alternate

KETCHIKAN (KDN) — Klawock City School senior Sophie Clark has been chosen as the second alternate to the U.S. Senate Youth Program, and nominated for the U.S. Presidential Scholars program.

The U.S. Senate Youth Program was set up to recognize high school juniors and seniors serving in student government "who display outstanding leadership, academic achievement, community service, and the ability to read, write and think clearly and effectively," according to the Alaska Department of Education.

Delegates are chosen based on two essays, school transcripts, college admission test scores and two letters of recommendation. The two Alaska delegates and two alternates were selected from among 18 applicants.

The delegates receive $5,000 when they travel to the week-long educational program in Washington, D.C., in March. Delegates hear major policy addresses by Senators, cabinet members, officials from the departments of State and Defense and directors of other federal agencies, as well as participate in a meeting with a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. All transportation, hotel and meal expenses are provided by The Hearst Foundations.

Alaska Performance Scholarship Coordinator Shari Paul said she nominated Clark for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program using a new process.

In addition to the Presidential Scholars program’s traditional method of nominating candidates plucked from the top scorers on averaged SAT and ACT examinations, an officer from each state can choose three male and three female candidates based on outstanding scholarship. One reason the new method of choosing nominees was created, Paul said, was to give students from small rural communities, who might not otherwise be chosen through the current recognition process, a chance to compete.

Candidates for the Presidential Scholars program also are evaluated on the strength of their essays, self-assessments, leadership and service activities, secondary school reports and transcripts.

About 500 semifinalists will be chosen for the Presidential Scholars program in late March, with the number in each state set in proportion to the number of test takers. One male student and one female student from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. citizens abroad will be chosen in April, as well as about 15 students chosen at large, according to the Department of Education.