Sen. Blake’s Student Ambassador Program Closes with Legislative Competition

groupSCRANTON, May 27, 2015 – State Senator John Blake today hosted 11 high school seniors from 7 local school districts for a legislative competition as the final chapter of this year’s Student Ambassador Program.

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.

“The Student Ambassador Program provides a great opportunity for local high school seniors to gain a better understanding of local, state and federal government operations. The student ambassadors also benefit from invaluable field experience in our public sector through our five-month program,” Blake said. “As we saw here today with the very thoughtful and professional presentations offered by our graduating seniors, the future of our region, our state and our country will be in good hands as these students of today become leaders of tomorrow.”

Today’s event, held at Marywood University, gave the student ambassadors an opportunity to make a legislative presentation to a panel of judges that included Sen. Blake, state Representative Eddie Day Pashinski and two legislative staffers.

For the presentation, the student ambassadors were tasked with putting themselves in the shoes of a state senator and proposing a new law 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.  Senator Blake will be awarding the top four presenters scholarship assistance for their post secondary academic pursuits.

The students scoring the highest in this year’s competition were Matthew Klucher from Abington Heights School District; Brian Swatt from Lakeland School District; Cassandra Semyon from Riverside School District; and Alexander Fried from Abington Heights School District.

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. Student ambassadors are nominated and recommended for participation in the program through an interview process with their school administrators, teachers or guidance counselors.

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Sen. Blake Welcomes Student Ambassadors From NEPA

SCRANTON, Jan. 16, 2013 – State Sen. John Blake today welcomed 16 student ambassadors from 16 Northeast Pennsylvania high schools and gave them a firsthand glimpse of state lawmaking, citizenship and public service.

The students became ambassadors following a competitive application process. Blake said his first group of diplomats includes some of the region’s finest pupils and future leaders.

“I commend the 16 young men and women on having earned the support and the acknowledgment of their respective schools to represent those schools in our inaugural Student Ambassador Program,” the senator said. “They bring impressive credentials, academic performance and extra-curricular involvement.”

Between now and May, Sen. Blake will help his ambassadors better understand the ins and outs of state government and what it means to devote their efforts to helping neighbors and communities live better lives.

At today’s opening session, the 16 ambassadors traveled to Lackawanna College and first learned about Lackawanna County history from Mary Ann Savokinus of the Lackawanna Historical Society. Later in the day, the future leaders heard from Blake’s regional director, Larry West, and Lackawanna County Outreach Manager Fran Pantuso.

After lunch, the ambassadors traveled to Scranton City Hall, met newly installed Mayor Bill Courtright and toured city hall. President Judge Thomas Munley then shared his perspective of county government and the students were later introduced to the Lackawanna County Commissioners.

Sen. Blake also shared his thoughts and ideas about legislating. A freshman Democrat, the Archbald resident was elected in 2010 and has spearheaded significant job-creating economic development legislation and policies to better help the 22nd Senatorial District and NEPA. He has also earned a reputation as a voice of reason that his legislative colleagues have come to respect.

“I am delighted for the opportunity to inform the student ambassadors about government at all levels, but particularly about the important public policy debates and parliamentary procedures that attend my work in the Pennsylvania State Senate,” Blake said.

As part of the program, student ambassadors will later compete for college scholarship assistance through the completion of a critical thinking project and a presentation on a state-related legislative initiative of their choosing.


Editor’s Note: The list of Sen. Blake’s Student Ambassadors and their high schools:


Tom Racek, Abington Heights

Moriah Mauro, Carbondale Area

Abby O’Neil, Dunmore

Dylan Miller, East Stroudsburg South

Anthony Wilcox, Forest City Regional

Christian Anderson, Holy Cross

Bradley Lochen, Lackawanna Trail

Amanda Sheakoski, Lakeland

Matthew Caines, Mid Valley

Blake Bauman, North Pocono

Devon Brown, Old Forge

Steven Lee, Pittston Area

Daniel Shaykevich, Pocono Mountain East

Tyler Williams, Valley View

Cara Anzulewicz, West Scranton

Lauren Larar, Wyoming Seminary

Sen. Blake Announces Student Ambassador Program

HARRISBURG, Oct. 18, 2013 – State Sen. John Blake today said he is encouraging dedicated high school seniors to apply to become student ambassadors.

Blake’s Student Ambassador Program is an opportunity for one senior from each of the 17 high schools in the 22nd Senatorial District to learn about citizenship, public service and state lawmaking.

“This program offers a unique opportunity for students who may have an interest in public service and who want to make a positive difference in their communities,” the senator said. “I am looking forward to engaging serious young women and men who are interested in the hard work of government and in offering them an insider’s view of the lawmaking process.”

Students from Abington Heights, Carbondale, Dunmore, Forest City, Holy Cross, Lackawanna Trail, Lakeland, Mid Valley, North Pocono, Old Forge, Pittston Area, Pocono Mountain, Riverside, Scranton, Scranton Prep, Valley View and West Scranton are eligible to apply for Sen. Blake’s Student Ambassador Program.

Applications for the program are available in each school’s guidance office.

Between December and May, student ambassadors will participate in a schedule of events and presentations with the senator and his staff — including time at the State Capitol — and all will compete for college scholarship assistance through the completion of a critical thinking project and presentation.

For more information, contact Sen. Blake’s district office, 570-207-2881 or review information posted online at