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An Atherton student is one of two California students selected recently selected to represent the state at the 59th annual U.S. Senate Youth Program.

Sathvik Nori, a senior at Menlo-Atherton High School, will represent California along with Jamaal Willis of Barstow High School in San Bernardino County. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced the students’ names last Tuesday.

Funded by the Hearst Foundations, the Senate Youth Program is a weeklong educational experience for high school juniors or seniors interested in public service careers. Students are given an opportunity to learn more about the Senate and the branches of government while attending meetings with senators, the president, a Supreme Court justice and other government officials. Two students are selected from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity.

Sathvik Nori, a senior at Menlo-Atherton High School, will represent California at the U.S. Senate Youth Program. (Photo courtesy of San Mateo County)

This year’s program will take place online from March 14-18.

As state representatives, Nori and Willis will also receive a $10,000 college scholarship.

Students are nominated by their high school principal and then selected based on their leadership skills, commitment to their schools and academic achievement. They must be serving in an elected or appointed leadership position representing a constituency and must express an interest in pursuing a career in public service to qualify.

Nori, the Menlo-Atherton senior in the Sequoia Union High School District, is interested in pursuing a career in progressive justice reforms. He is the youngest commissioner on the San Mateo Juvenile Justice Commission and serves on his school board, the Superintendent’s Advisory Council, the San Mateo Youth Commission and as editor-in-chief of his school’s newspaper.

Willis, a senior at Barstow High School in the Barstow Unified School District, is president of the student body and has volunteered with the American Civil Liberties Union, NAACP and the Safe Youth Coalition. He plans to pursue a career as a civil rights or criminal attorney and run for office in the future.

Thurmond also announced two alternates for the program: Emma Barrosa of Glendora High School in Los Angeles County and Michael Zhao of Lynbrook High School in Santa Clara County.

Thurmond said in a statement that he was impressed by the students’ leadership and passion.

“From advocating for racial equity and civil rights to working on mental health awareness and increasing civic engagement among their peers, these students desire to empower the disadvantaged and improve the lives of others, which fills me with great optimism for our future,” Thurmond said.