By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily
Two students from Sheridan County have been selected to represent the state in a virtual program that will give them an insight into how the American political process works.
Next month, Cameron Reckard and Tamica Smith will be part of the U.S. Senate Youth Program Washington Week, when 104 students interested in public service careers will attend virtual meetings and briefings with senators, U.S. Supreme Court justices, cabinet leaders and senior members of the national media.
Reckard, a junior at Sheridan High School who serves as the student council junior class president and is involved in a number of school and community organizations, told Cowboy State Daily the U.S. Senate Youth Program is a chance to understand a little more how government works.
“Washington, D.C., is the home of essentially all of our nation’s leaders,” Reckard noted. “All of the representatives we elect — the president, all of the government officials, essentially. And so by learning through the interviews that Washington Week provides, and being able to have these, not quite one-on-one, but close to personal interviews with these government officials, and people who have to have amazing leadership skills each and every day to simply do their job, it’s really going to be incredibly invaluable.”
Smith, a senior at the Arvada-Clearmont High School in Sheridan County, is an active member of numerous student organizations, including serving as the president of student council and president of National Honor Society. She said the media aspect of the event excites her.
“I feel like the media is a different level of politics in and of itself,” she said. “And a lot of the ideas behind the media convey and change between state level as well as national level.”
Arvada-Clearmont is a small school — just 97 students in Kindergarten through 12th grade and more than half of those, 48, are in seventh through 12th grades, according to Principal Boyd Brown.
“So we’re a fairly small school but our students do a great job of competing, no matter what they’re doing,” he told Cowboy State Daily. “Tamica has been involved in student council since she was a seventh grader. She has always been involved.”
Smith, who plans to pursue undergraduate degrees in marketing and studio arts, said she hopes to inspire other youth in her community to become involved in local issues.
“I really believe that the youth should be involved in politics in any way they can,” said Smith, “whether it’s just by the everyday interactions, reading the news, watching the news, or actually taking a step forward to participate in their local government activity. I think it’s also really beneficial for students, as well as just people in America, to understand the exact inner workings of all politics.”
Smith said many young people back away from politics because they don’t understand it.
“I think that by attending this activity, I can gain more insight and come back to my community and help other students about it,” she said.
After graduating in 2023, Reckard said he hopes to pursue an undergraduate degree in business, followed by his MBA.
“Business is such a big part of everything we do in our world,” he said. “And by being able to have those skills, of even combining business as well as knowledge about public policy, I think that that equips me really well to make essentially any change that I want, to positively impact the world going forward into my life.”
Sheridan High School Principal Michael Carnes, believes that Reckard has that ability to make a difference for others.
“He’s one of the best advocates for our school,” Carnes said. “He accepts everybody – like, he is all inclusive. He’s a top notch kid. I mean, they don’t make them better than him.”
“I would definitely love to be able to make a change in this world,” Reckard said, “whether that’s through directly a public office position, or in a way that doesn’t necessarily involve holding public office. I still want to be able to make a positive impact on the world.”