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Mississippi Students Selected for United States Senate Youth Program


For Immediate Release: Jan. 10, 2024

Mississippi Students Selected for United States Senate Youth Program

JACKSON, Miss. – The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) announced that high school students Katherine Marie Farthing and Iris Jiani Xue will join Senator Roger F. Wicker and Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith in representing Mississippi during the 62nd annual USSYP Washington Week, to be held March 2-9, 2024. Katherine Farthing of Madison and Iris Xue of Southaven were selected from among the state’s top student leaders to be part of the 104 national student delegation. Each delegate will also receive a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate study.

The USSYP was created by Senate Resolution 324 in 1962 and has been sponsored by the Senate and fully funded by The Hearst Foundations since inception. Originally proposed by Senators Kuchel, Mansfield, Dirksen and Humphrey, the Senate leadership of the day, the impetus for the program as stated in Senate testimony is "to increase young Americans’ understanding of the interrelationships of the three branches of government, learn the caliber and responsibilities of federally elected and appointed officials, and emphasize the vital importance of democratic decision making not only for America but for people around the world."

Each year this extremely competitive merit-based program provides the most outstanding high school students – two from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity – with an intensive week-long study of the federal government and the people who lead it. The overall mission of the program is to help instill within each class of USSYP student delegates more profound knowledge of the American political process and a lifelong commitment to public service. In addition to the program week, The Hearst Foundations provide each student with a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs. All expenses for Washington Week are also provided by The Hearst Foundations; as stipulated in Senate Resolution 324, no government funds are utilized.

Katherine Farthing, a senior at Madison Central High School, is the president of the National Honor Society. At her school, Katie serves as Government Club co-president and Interact Club treasurer, and is a member of over ten clubs, including Advocates for Change, Women’s Empowerment Club, Upstanders Club, the mathematics Honor Society Mu Alpha Theta and more. She is the Senate majority leader of the Mississippi Youth Legislature and the executive board Honor Code director for the Madison Junior Civitan club. She has previously been a service coordinator for Civinettes and was responsible for coordinating service opportunities for over 270 girls in Madison County. Katie is a Goodwill Industries of Mississippi Volunteer Salute youth honoree, a National Merit semifinalist, an AP Scholar with Distinction, a Coca-Cola Scholar semifinalist, and a Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership delegate. At Magnolia Girls State this past summer, she was elected speaker of the House and was chosen to represent Mississippi at American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation in Washington, D.C. She attends St. Francis Catholic Church, where she is a middle school Core Team leader. She volunteers with various organizations in her community, including TOP Soccer, the Mississippi’s Children’s Museum, Madison Countians Allied Against Poverty (MADCAAP), and the Central Mississippi Down Syndrome Society. Katie is a captain and three-time state champion on the Madison Central tennis team and has been recognized as a WAPT/Mississippi Sports Medicine Scholar Athlete. She plans to study public policy and international relations in college and pursue a career in foreign service or in the medical field.

Iris Xue, a senior at The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science (MSMS), serves as the president of the French Honor Society and as a student ambassador to the Mississippi Secretary of State and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. She is the editor-in-chief of her school's newspaper, The Vision, captain of the varsity tennis team, and tournament chair and Calculus Department Committee head of Mu Alpha Theta. She has been recognized for her outstanding leadership as one of the only two Mississippi delegates and scholarship recipients to the 2022 Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership World Leadership Congress and Mississippi’s only delegate and scholarship recipient to the 2023 Al Neuharth Free Spirit Journalism Conference. She has received the National French Exam Gold Medal, the President’s Volunteer Service Award Gold Medal and is an AP Scholar with Distinction, a National Merit semifinalist, a Coca-Cola Scholarship regional finalist and a Distinguished Young Women of Mississippi first alternate. She volunteers with English and Math Outreach and Tutoring and Mississippi HOBY Junior Staff where she reads to children at local library events, develops challenging math problems for state and local tournaments, assists her peers, and organizes activities for annual HOBY seminars. She’s served as class president at both MSMS and DeSoto Central High School (DCHS), DCHS Interact Club officer and DeSoto County Crown Club member, where she created service opportunities for others. Iris plans to study economics and government in college and aspires to positively impact economic development initiatives at the national or state level.

Chosen as alternates to the 2024 program were Charles Mitchell Frugé, a resident of Oxford, who attends Oxford High School, and Evelyn Anne O'Gwynn, a resident of Brandon, who attends Northwest Rankin High School.

Delegates and alternates are selected by the state departments of education nationwide and the District of Columbia and Department of Defense Education Activity, after nomination by teachers and principals. The chief state school officer for each jurisdiction confirms the final selection. This year’s Mississippi delegates and alternates were designated by Dr. Raymond Morgigno, Interim State Superintendent of Education.

During the program week, the student delegates will attend meetings and briefings with senators, the president, a justice of the Supreme Court, and leaders of cabinet agencies, among others.

For general information about the United States Senate Youth Program:
Program Director Rayne Guilford (800) 425-3632 or

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