Two students from Lincoln Public Schools have been selected as delegates to the 56th annual United States Senate Youth Program to be held March 3-10 in Washington, D.C., an honor that also includes a $10,000 college scholarship.
Nicole Fintel, a junior at Lincoln East High School, and Bouthaina Ibrahim, a junior at Lincoln Northeast High School, were chosen from students across Nebraska. It’s believed to be the first time that both of the state’s delegates were chosen from the same school district.
“We have an extremely rare opportunity to speak with some of the most influential people in our federal government,” Fintel said, “and I’m beyond grateful for
Ibrahim said she cried “tears of joy” when she found out she had been selected.
“I am so honored to represent my state, my school and myself through this prestigious program,” she said. “I truly want to utilize this opportunity to its utmost potential.”
While in Washington the student delegates will attend meetings with senators, members of the House of Representatives, Congressional staff, the president and a justice of the Supreme Court. They also will tour many of the national monuments and several museums.
The program is designed to increase young Americans’ understanding of the three branches of government, learn the caliber and responsibilities of federal officials, and emphasize the vital importance of democratic decision-making.
Nebraska Commissioner of Education Matthew L. Blomstedt selected the state’s delegates after nomination by teachers and principals.
Students who were nominated went through a vigorous application process. First, they were required to a hold an elected position at school. They had to submit multiple essays about their leadership abilities, experience in government and politics, community involvement and what they hoped to learn from the experience if chosen. They took a test that gauged their knowledge about U.S. history, government, politics and the Constitution. Finalists were then chosen from each state and were given 45 minutes to write an essay about a current political issue.
Fintel is currently class vice president at East, a student ambassador and a member of the speech team. She has interned for a U.S. Congressman, worked on two political campaigns and is an intern for Nebraskans for Civic Reform. She plans on pursuing a Ph.D., majoring in political science or pre-law with a minor in biological chemistry.
Ibrahim serves as student council vice president at Northeast. She has helped organize Make-A-Wish events and hunger drives and mentors fourth-grade students. She holds a teaching position at the Islamic Foundation of Lincoln and is a hospital volunteer. She is interested in majoring in political science and international affairs and ultimately wants to be a U.S. ambassador.
Published: January 11, 2018, Updated: January 11, 2018