Pa. Sen. John Blake opens Student Ambassador Program at Lackawanna
SCRANTON, Pa. – State Sen. John Blake welcomed 16 student ambassadors from 16 Northeast Pennsylvania high schools and gave them a firsthand glimpse of state lawmaking, citizenship and public service during the first session of his Student Ambassador Program on Jan. 16, 2014.
The students became ambassadors following a competitive application process. Blake said his first group of diplomats includes some of the region’s finest pupils and future leaders.
“I commend the 16 young men and women on having earned the support and the acknowledgment of their respective schools to represent those schools in our inaugural Student Ambassador Program,” the senator said. “They bring impressive credentials, academic performance and extra-curricular involvement.”
Between now and May, Sen. Blake will help his ambassadors better understand the ins and outs of state government and what it means to devote their efforts to helping neighbors and communities live better lives.
At the opening session, the 16 ambassadors traveled to Lackawanna College and first learned about the College’s mission from President Mark Volk as well as the history of Lackawanna County from Mary Ann Moran-Savakinus of the Lackawanna Historical Society. Later in the day, the future leaders heard from Blake’s regional director, Larry West, and Lackawanna County Outreach Manager Fran Pantuso.
After lunch, the ambassadors traveled to Scranton City Hall, met newly installed Mayor Bill Courtright and toured city hall. President Judge Thomas Munley then shared his perspective of county government and the students were later introduced to the Lackawanna County Commissioners.
Sen. Blake also shared his thoughts and ideas about legislating. A freshman Democrat, the Archbald resident was elected in 2010 and has spearheaded significant job-creating economic development legislation and policies to better help the 22nd Senatorial District and NEPA. He has also earned a reputation as a voice of reason that his legislative colleagues have come to respect.
“I am delighted for the opportunity to inform the student ambassadors about government at all levels, but particularly about the important public policy debates and parliamentary procedures that attend my work in the Pennsylvania State Senate,” Blake said.
As part of the program, student ambassadors will later compete for college scholarship assistance through the completion of a critical thinking project and a presentation on a state-related legislative initiative of their choosing.
Student Ambassadors participating in the program include:
- Tom Racek, Abington Heights
- Moriah Mauro, Carbondale Area
- Abby O’Neil, Dunmore
- Dylan Miller, East Stroudsburg South
- Anthony Wilcox, Forest City Regional
- Christian Anderson, Holy Cross
- Bradley Lochen, Lackawanna Trail
- Amanda Sheakoski, Lakeland
- Matthew Caines, Mid Valley
- Blake Bauman, North Pocono
- Devon Brown, Old Forge
- Steven Lee, Pittston Area
- Daniel Shaykevich, Pocono Mountain East
- Tyler Williams, Valley View
- Cara Anzulewicz, West Scranton
- Lauren Larar, Wyoming Seminary