Miss. Students Will Represent State, Receive $10,000 Scholarships

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today commended Jacob Pearson of Corinth and Weston “Archer” Taylor of Petal on their selection to represent Mississippi at the 59th annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP).

Wicker and Hyde-Smith will meet virtually with Pearson and Taylor as part of their participation in the program. The students will also attend the first-ever, fully virtual 2021 USSYP Washington Week, March 14-21. Each will receive a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship from the non-profit Hearst Foundations, which fund the program.

“As two of our state’s most promising students, Jacob and Archer will have the rare opportunity to engage with leaders in the highest levels of our government,” Wicker said.  “Their dedication to their communities is evident and I have no doubt they will represent Mississippi well.”

“I commend Jake and Archer on receiving this honor and especially for having distinguished themselves through their academic, student government, and community service activities,” Hyde-Smith said.  “While a wholly virtual program will be different, I am confident they will represent our state well, and I look forward to visiting with them.”

The USSYP Washington Week will include 104 student delegates from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity.  USSYP participants will have virtual meetings and briefings with Senators, congressional staff, the President, a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, federal agencies, the diplomatic corps, and the media.

Pearson is a senior at Alcorn Central High School, where he serves as student council president and senior class vice president.  He has also led several school groups including the Future Business Leaders of America, the Beta Club, and the National Technical Honors Society.  He is a Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership student ambassador. He participates in the Community Connections Mentoring Program, which allows high school students to interact with and mentor disadvantaged children in the community.  In addition, he has volunteered with the Rotary Club Food Drive and as a student poll worker in 2019 and 2020.

Taylor, a Petal High School junior, serves as president of the National Honor Society and as a representative on the Mississippi Superintendent Student Advisory Council.  In addition to being selected to serve as a United States Senate Page, Taylor participates in multiple clubs, including Vox Populi (Voice of the People) and Future Business Leaders of America.  His volunteer efforts include the Edward Street Mission, Backpack Club, and the Petal Education Foundation Ambassadors. 

Mississippi’s alternates to the 2021 program are Flowood residents Cass Rutledge of Jackson Preparatory School and Vaibhavi Mahajan of Northwest Rankin High School.

The Mississippi Superintendent of Education, Dr. Carey Wright, designated the Mississippi delegates and alternates from students nominated by teachers and principals.

The USSYP was created by Senate Resolution 324 in 1962 and has been sponsored by the Senate and fully funded by The Hearst Foundations since its inception.  No government funds are used.

Wicker is a member of the Senate Advisory Committee for the USSYP program.