Local students selected for United States Senate Youth Program
By Morgan Howard and ShaCamree Gowdy
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Cadet Col. Ruben Banks from Jim Hill High School and Kennedy Guest, a student at Brandon High School, have been selected for the 2019 United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP).
Banks and Guest were chosen from among the state’s top student leaders to take part in the program.
The students will join Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith in representing Mississippi in the nation’s capital during the 57th annual USSYP Washington Week to be held March 2–9.
Only 104 students make up the entire national delegation. Each member will receive a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate study.
Banks is a graduating senior at Jim Hill High School. He serves as the school's Student Government Association president and past governor of Magnolia State Mississippi Boys State 2018.
He is the Jackson Public Schools JROTC Brigade Commander and has recently been awarded the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross Award. Banks has also served for the past four years as a member of the United States Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol. He is also a member of FEMA’s Youth Preparedness Council. Banks is the president of the Jackson Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Inc., Kappa League, and was featured last spring as an amazing teen by the Jackson Free Press.
“This is a remarkable young man, and I’ve quickly come to appreciate him for his drive, his leadership, his achievements and for his humility,” said JPS Superintendent Dr. Errick L. Greene. “I’m very proud of Mr. Banks and excited to celebrate his continued success.”
Guest is a senior at Brandon High School. He is a National Merit Scholar and member of the Brandon Mayor’s Youth Council.
He was also selected as one of Mississippi’s two delegates to the Hugh O’Brian World Leadership Congress and attended the Trent Lott Leadership Institute. He plans to attend law school and pursue a career in public service after earning an engineering degree from Mississippi State University.
“I am proud and encouraged to see Mississippi represented by two students with such outstanding community service and academic records," said Senator Hyde-Smith. “Ruben and Kennedy, and their peers from around the country, will have an excellent opportunity to learn more about public service and our government through the U.S. Senate Youth Program.”
USSYP is an extremely competitive and merit-based program. Each year, it brings the most outstanding high school students to Washington, D.C. for an intensive weeklong study of the federal government and the people who lead it. Only two students are selected from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity. The overall mission of the program is to help instill within each class of student delegates more profound knowledge of the American political process and a lifelong commitment to public service.
While in Washington, the student delegates will 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. The students will also tour many of the national monuments and several museums.