Faith Townsend, a senior at Johnson High School, was selected as one of 104 student delegates from across the country to participate in the United States Senate Youth Program.
The annual experience is held by the Department of Defense Education Activity and funded by the Hearst Foundation as a weeklong education and leadership program for the country’s next leaders. Once a student is chosen, they attend Washington Week where they meet with U.S. congressmen and get an in-depth experience to learn the ins and outs of the federal government.
This year, Washington Week will be held online, eight hours a day from March 15 to March 18. To be considered for the program, students underwent a rigorous application process, showing their leadership skills through their participation in civic or educational organizations. Townsend was nominated by Carey Crawford, her high school counselor.
Crawford highlighted Townsend’s many achievements in and out of school, noting the student’s participation in her school’s cheerleading team and theater troupe. She said Townsend is also in the top five of her graduating class, certified as an International Baccalaureate student and serves as president of Johnson’s National Honor Society. Townsend has already been accepted into early admission for Georgia Tech and is a candidate for the U.S. Naval Academy.
“Her passion for service through the military is something I’ve never seen before in a student so it was really a no-brainer that she was going to compete for this,” Crawford said.
Laurie Ecke, Hall’s director of innovative/advanced programs, was a key person in selecting Townsend to go into the second round of the selection process. Ecke and a small committee interviewed each candidate on the county level and chose Townsend to represent the county for the state competition.
Ecke said Townsend’s sincerity was the key factor in selecting her, as well as her love for the U.S. and knowledge on the Constitution from a young age.
Townsend said she was shocked when she found out about her acceptance into the program on Feb. 5.
“It was hard to come to terms with the knowledge I had been deemed worthy of such an immense honor,” she said.
The senior hopes to go into the U.S Navy and become a commissioned nuclear submarine officer.
Townsend is the second student from Hall County to be chosen as a delegate for the national program.
Her teachers, coaches, principal and family have expressed how proud they are of Townsend’s achievement and all she’s done for her school. Jonathan Edwards, principal at Johnson High, said Townsend is someone students in the district can look up to.
“The common piece is that everybody has a desire to serve, and when you look at Faith and her accomplishments and the things that she’s involved in, it’s a testament to her,” Edwards said. “She has made our campus and is currently making our campus a better place for everyone.”