Two Colorado Springs high school students were tapped to represent the state as delegates to the 51st Annual United States Senate Youth Program.
Connie Hammond of Colorado Springs Christian High School and Sean Weller of Air Academy High School will attend the program March 9-16 in Washington, D.C.
Hammond, 18, and 17-year-old Weller said they’re thrilled with the opportunity and politics is something they each want to pursue after high school.
The seniors were chosen from applicants from across the state, and state Commissioner of Education Robert Hammond made the announcement Friday. During the week they study federal government and the U.S. Senate. Delegates will also meet with cabinet members, a Supreme Court justice and several key congressional policy makers.
Weller has been interested in politics since the sixth grade, he said, when he was first introduced to the different types of government.
“I love exploring political issues and the values people hold,” he said. “I like putting together the puzzle pieces of government.”
Weller has significant experience in government, but hasn’t seen much on a national level, he said. He is the student body president at Air Academy, and leads the statewide Colorado Youth Advisory Council.
He helped draft state legislation on teen suicide that was approved last year, he said. Being a part of that process, including hearings, was enlightening and fulfilling, he said.
Hammond was hooked recently, and cites a political conference she attended last summer for drawing her interest. She serves as class council representative, as well as a senator in student cabinet.
“Before that, I didn’t think getting into politics was worth it,” she said. “It really influences our lives.”
She wants to do more than just vote, she said, and is glad she gets to go on the trip.
“I’m really passionate about it and I want to learn more,” Hammond said.
Weller and Hammond said they both plan to pursue undergraduate and graduate work tied to politics or public policy.
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