Youth have a voice in our democracy, says Stillwater Area High School senior Alexander Pavlicin. Pavlicin will use his voice as one of two delegates from Minnesota at the 55th annual United States Senate Youth Program March 4-11 in Washington, D.C.
Originally proposed by a group of senators including Minnesota’s Hubert Humphrey, the impetus for the program as stated in Senate testimony is “to increase young Americans’ understanding of the interrelationships of the three branches of government, learn the caliber and responsibilities of federally elected and appointed officials, and emphasize the vital importance of democratic decision making not only for America but for people around the world.”
Each year, the merit-based program brings 104 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 week-long study of the federal government and the people who lead it. In addition to the program week, The Hearst Foundations provide each student with a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to pursue higher education in government, history and public affairs.
“I was very honored when I found out I had been selected,” Pavlicin said. “I was in my last hour class when I got the call from the Department of Education. The past couple of weeks have been really fantastic.”
As part of the preparation for “Washington Week,” Pavlicin said he received a schedule of events that includes meeting the president of the United States, a U.S. Supreme Court justice and other members of all branches of the federal government.
“One activity I am really looking forward to is a workshop where we are given a region of the world and have to develop a peace plan between two countries,” Pavlicin said. “There will be representative diplomats from those countries for us to work with.”
Pavlicin said that much of government education is hands off and more theoretical.
“With this opportunity, I will get a real-world application of the theory because government is really hands on,” Pavlicin said.
Pavlicin is also excited to meet the other delegates and learn about their diverse backgrounds.
“The advice I would have for young people is to get more active and take on leadership roles in their local communities,” Pavlicin said. “I am a part of some organizations that have never had a youth representative before.”
At Stillwater Area High School, Pavlicin serves as the Youth for Sustainable Solutions club co-president. He also serves his community as an Eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow member, volunteers in support of political campaigns, holds a steering team position on the community organization Sustainable Stillwater, assists students with special needs at his church, tutors other high school students in math and physics, and competes in cross country running, baseball and basketball. Additionally, he writes articles for a national online magazine and plays steel pan in his high school percussion ensemble.
Pavlicin plans to focus on international relations and engineering management in college.
Contact Alicia Lebens at [email protected]