March 12, 2002 – If you're a top student in grade 10 or 11 and would like to take part in this summer's Junior Statesmen program at one of the nation's most prestigious universities, you have until April 3 to apply for one of the three full scholarships available to U.S. Virgin Islands youths.
Ernest Morris, a former junior statesman who is recruiting for the program on St. Croix, urges all interested students to apply for the Interior Department-sponsored scholarships. He said that financial need is only a small part of determining who gets the scholarships and that all Virgin Islands students are eligible.
The scholarships cover tuition, housing, meals and transportation for the month-long program. Students get to attend summer-session classes at their choice of Georgetown, Northwestern, Princeton, Stanford or Yale Universities.
The program attracts top students from around the country, other U.S. territories, and the world. The focus is on getting students involved in local and global politics. "It's such a wonderful experience," Morris said.
In the last 10 years, 198 students from the territory have taken part. Morris said that since the program is held on college campuses, it gives participants a taste of what it's like to be at college. They take classes in government and speech, join debates on controversial subjects, interact with high-level government officials who address their classes, and develop and polish their leadership skills.
Admission to the program is competitive. Decisions are based on academic achievement, leadership and interest in politics or government. Applicants must submit a copy of their high school transcript, a three-page personal essay and a letter of recommendation from their counselor or a teacher. Applications are available from school guidance counselors.
The program also is open to students who do not receive scholarships. Tuition, housing and meals run about $3,225; transportation is additional. In years past, students have conducted fund-raising campaigns to help cover their expenses.
Morris is currently making the rounds of St. Croix schools to recruit interested students. He said that on St. Thomas, Mark Stridiron and Marissa Stridiron have similar duties. For more information, call Morris at 643-3542 or the San Mateo, Calif.-based Junior Statesman Foundation at (800) 334-5353 or (650) 347-1600.


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