Jackson & Brandon Students Will Represent State in Washington, D.C., Receive $10,000 Scholarships

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today commended Ruben Manasseh Banks of Jackson and Warren Kennedy Guest of Brandon on their selection to represent the Magnolia State at the 57th annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP).

Banks and Guest are scheduled to meet the Mississippi Senators as part of the 2018 USSYP Washington Week, which is March 2-9.  They are also scheduled to participate in 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.  They will each receive a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship from the non-profit Hearst Foundations, which funds the program.

“I am looking forward to welcoming Ruben and Kennedy to Washington,” Wicker said. “The U.S. Senate Youth Program provides a rare opportunity for our state’s students to engage with our nation’s highest levels of government. I know they will represent Mississippi well.”

“I am proud and encouraged to see Mississippi represented by two students with such outstanding community service and academic records.  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,” said Hyde-Smith, who currently serves on the USSYP Senate Advisory Committee.

The USSYP Washington Week will include 104 student delegates from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity.  The educational program is focused on increasing knowledge of American government and commitment to public service.

Banks, a senior at Jim Hill High School, is the president of the Student Government Association and was a past governor of the 2018 Mississippi Boys State.  He serves as the Jackson Public School JROTC Brigade Commander and was recently awarded with the Legion of Valor.  Banks is a member of the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol and the FEMA Youth Preparedness Council.  He is also president of the Jackson Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Inc., Kappa League.  In addition, the Jackson Free Press last year named him an “amazing teen” in the Jackson metropolitan area.

Guest, a senior at Brandon High School, is student body president.  A member of the Brandon Mayor’s Youth Council, Guest 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 is a National Merit Scholar and served as attorney general at Boys State.  Guest plans to attend law school and pursue a career in public service after earning an engineering degree from Mississippi State University.

Mississippi’s alternate delegates to the 2019 program are Evan Pike McCutchen of Pontotoc and Grace Olivia Weatherly of Gulfport.

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 has previously served on the Senate Advisory Committee for the USSYP program.


NOTE TO EDITORS:  For additional information about Mississippi’s delegates, alternates or selection process, contact the Mississippi state selection administrator:  Dr. Vernesia M. Wilson at vwilson@mdeck12.org or (601) 359-2153.  For general information about the United States Senate Youth Program, contact Program Director Rayne Guilford at 800-425-3632, rguilford@hearstfdn.org or by visiting www.ussenateyouth.org.