SELP, the Student Emerging Leaders Program, provides opportunities to Hispanic and African American students to become the next generation of leaders.
By combining a mentoring relationship, peer-to-peer engagement and an interactive student debate, the SELP program allows rising sophomores to participate in caucus conferences and expand their knowledge of national, state and local government.
“It’s very important for students to learn how the government works and to ask questions,” college and career information coordinator Janet Harris said.
Every year, RHSa�� SELP program sends several Hispanic and African American students to attend the Hispanic and Black caucuses to meet Maryland congressional leaders. Students miss one day of school and travel to D.C. in a group via buses.
Gabrielle Rivera, who participated in the 2013-2014 SELP program, remembers hearing speeches from members of congress such as John Lewis and walking past Senator John McCain.
“I think [the caucuses] provided us a lot of opportunities to meet influential people and a�� put ourselves out there,” Rivera said.
The 2014-2015 SELP application has been released online and Harris has put the information out to students via Naviance. The SELP application is open to freshmen and requires an essay; decisions come this spring. The application and the faxed signed commitment form must be submitted by April 11. Besides the application and essay, SELP applicants must have at least a 2.0 GPA.
Once chosen, SELP members and their parents are invited to attend an informational meeting in August. The 2014 Congressional Black Caucus Program will be Sept. 24 and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus will be Oct. 1, both at the Washington Convention Center.
Although the caucus is only a one day event, meeting with congressional leaders is a unique and rewarding experience.
“It’s a great hands-on opportunity for students to go downtown and meet leaders,” Harris said.
After being introduced to the leaders, optional leadership workshops are offered to SELP participants in November. From these experiences, SELP participants prepare for an Issues Debate and Issues Debate Forum by meeting with their assigned professional advisors three times between October and January.
The 2014-2015 SELP Issues Debate Forum and the Issues Debate Tuesday, Feb. 10 will allow students have an opportunity to present what they have learned through their SELP opportunities.
“It’s very important for students to learn how the government works and to ask questions,” Harris said.