SCRANTON, May 24, 2017 – State Senator John Blake recently hosted 22 high school seniors from 19 local school districts for a legislative competition at the University of Scranton as the final event of the 2017 Student Ambassador Program.

The student ambassadors from schools across the 22nd Senatorial District were given an opportunity to make a presentation on a legislative or policy issue to a panel of judges that included Sen. Blake; Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas Judge Julia Munley; Dr. Jean Harris, Professor of Political Science and Women’s Studies at the University of Scranton; and Kyle Mullins, legislative director for Sen. Blake.

“The Student Ambassador Program is one of the favorite activities that we do each year and I continue to be impressed by the quality of the students in all of our area schools,” Blake said. “The Student Ambassador Program is a great opportunity for me to work with bright young students and hear about the issues and policies that matter most to them, their families and their peers.  The program informs my decisions in Harrisburg.”

The team of Mid Valley senior Julia Betti and Carbondale senior Samantha Zenker were the winners of the legislative competition for their presentation on landfill regulations. The second place presentation was given by Michael Medaugh, Pocono Mountain East. The third highest scoring team consisted of Abington Heights senior Tyler Kusma and Scranton senior Darren Pitts. Senator Blake will be awarding the three top scoring presentations scholarship assistance for their post-secondary academic pursuits.

For the presentation, the student ambassadors worked in teams of two and were tasked with putting themselves in the shoes of a state senator and proposing a new law or policy of interest to them regarding transportation, education, emergency preparedness, environmental protection or human services. Each presentation was scored by the four judges on the substance of the proposal as well as on the strength of the argument.

The Student Ambassador Program gives high school seniors from each high school in the 22nd Senate District an opportunity to represent their school in a number of meetings, tours and government networking events designed to help participants gain a better understanding of all levels of government and to develop critical thinking and leadership skills with an emphasis on public service.

Students interested in participating in Senator Blake’s Student Ambassador Program next year can begin applying in September.  All information related to the application can be obtained at their schools or by calling Senator Blake’s office at 570-207-2881.

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