Tester, Baucus announce Helena, Polson students selected for U.S. Senate Youth Program

Rachel Skaar, Sharidan Russell to receive $5,000 Scholarship, head to Washington, D.C. conference in March

(U.S. SENATE) – Montana’s U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus today announced that Rachel Skaar of Helena and Sharidan Russell of Polson were chosen as delegates to the 52nd annual United States Senate Youth Program.

Skaar and Russell were selected from students across the state to be part of the group of 104 student delegates to attend the annual Washington Week in March and receive a $5,000 undergraduate college scholarship from the Hearst Foundations to continue studying government, history and public affairs.

“Montana’s future is in good hands with young leaders like Rachel and Sharidan,” said Tester, the co-chair for the Senate Youth Program. “Their dedication to service and hard work speaks to the best of the Treasure State. I know they will bring strong Montana values to Washington, and I look forward to hearing about their success in the weeks and years to come.”

“Rachel and Sharidan’s commitment to serve others, our state and our country represent values that make Big Sky Country strong. The U.S. Senate Youth Program is an excellent opportunity for our best and brightest to shine and I can’t wait to see what’s next for Rachel and Sharidan,” Baucus said.

Skaar attends Capital High School and serves as the Student Body secretary. She is the Key Club president, a member of the National Honor Society, and is involved in politics, including working as a page in the Montana House of Representatives, volunteering on a major political campaign, and advocating for women’s rights. Along with being an award-winning ballerina, she’s also a photographer and enjoys hiking and skiing. She is considering political science, law, business, communications, and Spanish as potential courses of study in college.

Russell attends Polson High School and serves on Superintendent Denise Juneau’s Graduation Matters Advisory Board. She is involved in several community service projects and is a leader in her church’s youth group. A National Honor Society member, she enjoys debate, public speaking, working on the school newspaper, sports, writing, and memorizing poems. She intends to study Arabic and government with a goal of teaching in the Middle East. She also plans to pursue political journalism to become a press secretary, or perhaps run for public office.

While in Washington, D.C., Skaar and Russell will attend meetings and briefings with Senators and Congressional staff, President Obama, a Justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies, and members of the national media.

Skaar and Russell were nominated by their teachers and principals and selected from students across the state by Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau. Baucus and Tester also congratulated 2014 alternates Anna Middleton, a resident of Big Sky, who attends Lone Peak High School and Aidan Wade, a resident of Helena, who attends Capital High School.

The Senate Youth Program was created in 1962, after being proposed by Montana Senator Mike Mansfield. The program is sponsored by the Senate and fully funded by The Hearst Foundations.