Beaufort’s Emmett O’Brien selected for U.S. Senate Youth Program


From staff reports 

Beaufort High School’s Emmett O’Brien has earned yet another prestigious academic accolade. 

State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman announced December 1 that two South Carolina high school students – O’Brien and J. L. Mann’s Aditya Bhatt (Greenville County) – have been selected as delegates to the 60th Annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) that will be held March 5-10, 2022. Each delegate will receive a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship. 

“I commend Aditya and Emmett for their outstanding achievement during the rigorous and extremely competitive nomination process for the United States Senate Youth Program,” Spearman said. “They represent the very best of our students in South Carolina and I congratulate these two young leaders for receiving this prestigious honor.” 

Each year this extremely competitive merit-based p r o g r a m brings 104 of the most outstanding high school students — two from each state, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity — to Washington, D.C., for an intensive week-long study of the federal government. Student delegates will hear major policy addresses by senators, cabinet members, officials from the Departments of State and Defense and directors of other federal agencies, as well as participate in meetings with the president and a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. 

In addition to the student delegates attending Washington Week, the Hearst Foundation will provide each of the 104 student delegates with a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue their educational coursework in government, history and public affairs. 

Emmett O’Brien, son of Elizabeth and Joe O’Brien of Beaufort, is a senior at Beaufort High and serves as the Senior Class President. A publicist for the French National Honor Society, Emmett O’Brien was selected as one of two senators to represent South Carolina at American Legion Boys Nation in Washington, D.C. 

“I became acquainted with Mr. Emmett O’Brien during the 2018-2019 Academic Year as a self-motivated and very intelligent young man with outstanding academic abilities and noteworthy leadership,” Beaufort High School Principal Charity Summers said. “I was immediately impressed with him as a freshman. He has served as an executive leader in the Beaufort High School Student Council for the past four years. He is a confident, ambitious, compassionate, resourceful and insightful leader. He is a visionary leader who is well respected among his peers. 

“Emmett doesn’t mind doing the hard work and he inspires others to join his efforts. He is an asset to both the internal and external Beaufort High School Community. This honor is well deserved.” 

Aditya Bhatt, son of Sunita and Hemang Bhatt of Greenville, is a senior at J. L. Mann. Aditya Bhatt is involved in Speech and Debate, Youth in Government, and also is a member of the varsity tennis team. 

“We are so proud of Aditya and his selection to represent South Carolina for the United States Senate Youth Program,” J. L. Mann High School Principal Charles Mayfield said. “We are proud not only for his numerous academic accomplishments, but for his character and leadership. Aditya pursues learning with enthusiasm, builds relationships founded on respect and community, and provides leadership with integrity. Quite simply, Aditya exemplifies all the best in our students and is deserving of this honor.” 

The USSYP was created by Senate Resolution 324 in 1962 and has been sponsored by the U.S. Senate and fully funded by the Hearst Foundation since its inception. The program was established to “to increase young Americans’ understanding of the interrelationships of the three branches of government, the caliber and responsibilities of federally elected and appointed officials, and the vital importance of democratic decision making not only for America, but for people around the world.” 

Visit https://ussenateyouth.org/ for more information on the United States Senate Youth Program. 

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