ALEXANDRIA, VA - March 2, 2017 - Mr. Thomas Brady, Director, Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), announced Emma Rook and John Casey as delegates to the 55th annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) to be held March 4 - 11 in Washington, D.C.
The two students will be representing DoDEA's 73,000 military-connected students worldwide and will attend the 55th annual Washington Week program.
The USSYP was created by Senate Resolution 324 in 1962 and has been sponsored by the Senate and fully funded by The Hearst Foundations. Originally proposed by Senators Kuchel, Mansfield, Dirksen and Humphrey, the impetus for the program as stated in Senate testimony is "to increase young Americans' understanding of the interrelationships of the three branches of government, learn the caliber and responsibilities of federally-elected and appointed officials, and emphasize the vital importance of democratic decision making not only for America but for people around the world."
Each year this extremely competitive merit-based program brings 104 of the most outstanding high school students - two from each state, the District of Columbia and the DODEA - to Washington, D.C. for an intensive week-long study of the federal government and the people who lead it. The overall mission of the program is to help instill within each class of USSYP student delegates a more profound knowledge of the American political process and a lifelong commitment to public service. In addition to the program week, The Hearst Foundations provide each student with a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs.
Emma Rook attends Ankara High School in Ankara, Turkey, and holds the top rank in her class. She serves as the Student Council president, Senior Class president, president of the National Honor Society, and president of the Model United Nations/Debate Club. She has participated in many student leadership conferences, including representing Ankara High School at the International Scholastic Leadership Institute and winning first place at the Google sponsored Entrepreneur Start Up Weekend. She has served as the captain of the varsity soccer, volleyball, and basketball teams, and has devoted time to community service through various projects such as teaching refugees English and assisting the local animal shelter. Emma will major in political science and international relations.
John Casey attends Ramstein High School in Ramstein, Germany and serves as the Student Body treasurer. John has also been class president for the past three years, and serves as the treasurer for his school's National Honor Society. He was a National Security Language Initiative scholar and spent eight weeks in Rabat, Morocco studying Arabic through immersion in conjunction with the U.S. State Department. John will attend the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in economics with concentrations in public policy, finance, and law.
Chosen as alternates to the 2017 program were Gid Merz who attends Kadena High School in Okinawa, Japan, and Patrick McGuire, who attends Wiesbaden High School in Wiesbaden, Germany. While in Washington the student delegates will attend meetings and briefings with Senators, House Representatives and Congressional staff, the President, a Justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies, an Ambassador to the United States and senior members of the national media. The students will also tour many of the national monuments and several museums and they will stay at the historic Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.
In addition to exceptional leadership abilities and a strong commitment to volunteer work, the student delegates generally rank academically in the top one percent of their states among high school juniors and seniors. Now more than 5,000 strong, alumni of the program continue to excel and develop impressive qualities that are often directed toward public service. Among the many distinguished alumni are: Senator Susan Collins, the first delegate to be elected U.S. Senator; Senator Cory Gardner, the second alumnus to be elected U.S. Senator and the first to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives; New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the first delegate to be elected governor; former Chief Judge Robert Henry, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit; former Ambassador to West Germany Richard Burt, and former presidential advisors Thomas "Mack" McLarty and Karl Rove. Additional notables include former Lt. Governor of Idaho David Leroy, former president of the Progressive Policy Institute Robert Shapiro, military officers, members of state legislatures, Foreign Service officers, top congressional staff, healthcare providers and university educators.
DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education programs for school-age children of Department of Defense personnel who would otherwise not have access to high-quality public education. DoDEA schools are located in Europe, the Pacific, Western Asia, the Middle East, Cuba, the United States, Guam, and Puerto Rico. DoDEA also provides support and resources to Local Educational Agencies throughout the United States that serve children of military families.