Mr. Levit and Mr. Welborn go to Washington, meeting with Obama, Lankford, Inhofe
CITY – Two Oklahoma high school seniors are reflecting on advice
they received, in person, from President Obama: “Think about what
you want to do, not about what you want to be.”
Levit and Matthew Welborn met the President this month as part of the
U.S. Senate Youth Program. They were among 104 young people from
across the country to a weeklong insider’s look at Washington, D.C.
a senior at Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa who will attend
Princeton this fall, is still unsure of which career to pursue, but
his visit reaffirmed his passion for public policy. Their visit with
the president included a 40-minute question-and-answer session.
big takeaway from a lot of the speakers was that we need to get
people more involved and more informed,” Levit said. “In the
midst of an election cycle, we need to encourage others to take the
time to learn about the candidates and the issues. That’s something
I’ve tried to do. I come away just thinking that’s more important
two years ago, Levit
founded Youth for Action, a group of students who try to get more
young people involved in their communities. To do this, they partner
with other clubs and write opinion articles from a youth perspective
The club has transcended the walls of Levit’s high school, with
members now at Notre Dame and in Israel.
who has argued for a teen voice on his local school board, said he
was inspired by a student delegate from Maryland whose school board
includes a student member with the same privileges as any other
Levit and Welborn said the greatest part of their week was uniting
with other young men and women from across the nation.
student council president at Norman North, said,
“It was great to hear their perspectives and what it’s like in
their states, but also really good, deep philosophical conversations
and debates about what the purpose of government is.” He
plans to attend the University of Oklahoma to student engineering and
then pursue a law degrees.
the entire week, for every speaker, no one was softballing any
questions,” Welborn said. “The easiest question anyone got all
week was when someone asked the President, ‘Any advice for us high
schoolers?’ He responded with ‘Fighting cynicism.’ That struck
a chord with me.”
two young men also met with Oklahoma’s U.S. Senators.
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa,
the program, now in its 54th year: “This program is an investment.
Not only does the Senate Youth Program recognize exceptional
students, but it also exposes our nation’s next generation of
leaders to the process of creating policy and shaping a nation. I am
proud of the students from Oklahoma that are selected to join this
Levit met U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, he was impressed
that the senator asked for his opinions on a debate just held on the
said, “The Senate enjoyed having them participate in the
program, and it’s good that they were able to experience the Senate.
Involvement in this program provides an experience unlike any other.
It gives young people a window into the daily operations of the
Senate, and it provides an opportunity for public service and
leadership in our nation’s capital.”
Levit and Welborn were nominated by the Oklahoma State Department of
Education after going through an application process that adhered to
the high standards set by the program. The Senate Youth Program is
sponsored by the U.S. Senate and fully funded by the Heart
of the U.S. Senate Youth Program include Robert Henry, former federal
judge, state legislator and Oklahoma attorney general. He is now
president of Oklahoma City University.
generally rank high academically and have shown leadership ability
and a commitment to volunteer work. This
week, the Oklahoma Department of Education circulated to
CapitolBeatOK and other news organizations information about the
participation of Levit and Welborn in the trip to the nation’s
more information on the U.S. Senate Youth Program in Oklahoma, visit: