News: Around our Diverse Asia-Pacific Region

Service to country a family affair: District employee’s son selected for prestigious Senate Youth Program

Published April 6, 2015

By Steve Satkowski
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Far East District Public Affairs


Mike Neaverth, former deputy commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Far East District and its current business process manager, has spent a career serving his country both in and out of uniform. It’s a career path his son David, a senior at Seoul American High School, hopes to continue.

“I would really like to serve at least a little bit in the Army,” said David Neaverth. “ I am not sure if I will make a career out of it or not, but I do plan on attending the U.S. Military Academy if I gain admission or Reserve Officers' Training Corps at college if offered.”

The younger Neaverth watched his father serve his country in uniform most of his life and the example he set was ingrained in him at a young age.

“My dad played a pretty big role in my decision to pursue public service and the military,” said Neaverth.  “I remember always dressing up and wearing his military stuff from a young age and as I have grown older I learned more about the significance of wearing that uniform.  In a world that seems to be capitulating to cynicism, he has a relentless optimistic attitude which I try to live up to.” 

That motivation led him to compete and be one of only 104 high school students (delegates) selected for the United States Senate Youth Program, where he spent a week in March learning about the American government in action. Student delegates met the President of the United States, heard major policy addresses by Senators, cabinet members, officials from the Departments of State and Defense and directors of other federal agencies.

“The public officials and speakers were awesome to meet, but listening and learning about the other delegates personal life was both humbling and profound,” said David Neaverth. “The atmosphere breathed of political optimism and intellectual vivacity. The things these kids in this nation have done and have accomplished in their communities and schools is amazing.”

To qualify for the prestigious program he went through an extensive selection process which included a test on his knowledge of the U.S. government and three separate interviews with teachers in Department of Defense Dependents Schools in the Korea district, Pacific district and worldwide. It was a long process and the fact that he persevered and was chosen wasn’t lost on his father.

"David is a fine young man and we are all proud of his work ethic, character, and service to the community,” said Mike Neaverth.  We are thrilled that he attended this prestigious program and thankful for all the support from family, friends, and leaders within the U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan community.” 

Neaverth said one of the things that stood out to him was the human aspect of the people he met.

“I guess it’s easy to distance yourself from these figures after seeing them on television all the time, but when speaking with different Senators I felt like I was talking to just regular down to earth people,” said Neaverth.

The whole experience led him to gain a greater appreciation of how to help his community and the career path he will choose.

“I am still processing different strategies and methods that I learned about public service to help the betterment of my community here at Yongsan,” said Neaverth. “When I go to college, I hope to do the same. “After the Army, I would either like to go straight to public service or work for the State Department. I just know I want to be helping other people”

As part of the program Neaverth will also be awarded a $5,000 college scholarship for undergraduate studies, with encouragement to pursue coursework in history and political science.

Release no. 15-019