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Pat Church selected as a U. S. Senate Youth Program delegate

December 22, 2010
WHITEFIELD — White Mountains Regional High School senior Patrick Church has been selected to serve as one of only two student delegates from New Hampshire at the highly competitive 49th annual U. S. Senate Youth Program (USSYP).

The honor will send Pat to a intensive all-expenses-paid educational and leadership program from March 5 to 12 in Washington, D.C. The event is designed to deepen his understanding of America's political processes and strengthen his commitment to a public service career.

Attendance also includes a one-time $5,000 college scholarship that can be used at any time over a four-year undergraduate program.

"I'm definitely very excited; I'd like a career in politics," Pat said. "I'll get a better sense of how Washington runs, and a chance to meet individuals —Senators, Cabinet members, State and Defense Department officials, and a member of the Supreme Court. The program is packed, and there never should be a dull moment.

"I think I'll get to shake the President's hand and to have a few words with him!" he said.

When asked what he believes he would say to President Barack Obama if that did happen, the 18-year-old Lancaster native replied," I've been trying to figure that out; I think I'll tell him that I'd like to be in his shoes some day."

This spring, Pat was elected Youth Governor in the YMCA 2010 Youth In Government program at the State House in Concord.

This fall he was elected by WMRHS students to serve as their non-voting representative on the District's seven-member school board.

Being elected to an office is one of the criteria, explained WMRHS principal Erik Anderson, noting that he had nominated him because he was clearly qualified.

"That was my only part; he did the rest," the principal said. "It's an opportunity of a lifetime, and we're considering it an Extended Learning Opportunity."

Pat had to fill out an application and submit an essay, which some 80 other Granite State students likely did as well. The pool was narrowed to 10, he thought, and an eight-person panel interviewed him in the state Board of Education offices.

Meg MacInnes of ConVal Regional High school in Peterborough is the other delegate. Meg also ran to be elected as Youth Governor last spring.

Principal Anderson said that Pat reminds him of former state Rep. Scott Merrick of Lancaster, who was also very interested in politics and public service while a high school student. A member of the WMRHS 2003 Class, Mr. Merrick, who graduated from Tufts University, now serves on Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's New Hampshire staff.

Pat is the only child of Donna and Ed Church of Lancaster, who, their son said, are thrilled that he will have this opportunity.

Pat plays alto saxophone in the WMRHS concert band, and plays soccer and is a catcher on varsity Spartan teams.

He has finished applications to six colleges in New England and New York State, and he says that he has no absolute first choice but is aware that each features different aspects in which he is interested.

The USSYP (www.ussenateyouth.org) was created in 1962 under Senate Resolution 324 and later unanimously approved by the Senate. Sponsored by the U. S. Senate, the program is paid for and administered by the Hearst Foundations of San Francisco.

Senator Susan Collins, a Republican of Maine who has been elected to the Senate for the six-year terms since 1996, was the first former program delegate to be elected to the Senate. Many delegates now hold or once held elected and appointed state and federal positions or have pursued healthcare and-or university careers.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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