ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA — January 24, 2008 — Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) students Christopher Brown and Brianna Fitch have been selected as delegates to the 2008 United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP).
The United States Senate Youth Program, sponsored by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, will bring 104 high school students from across the nation to Washington, D.C. to participate in a week long, interactive introduction to the federal government and political leaders behind it. As stated in Senate testimony, the mission of the William Randolph Hearst Foundation is "to increase young Americans' understanding of the interrelationships of the three branches of government, the caliber and responsibilities of federally elected and appointed officials, and the vital importance of democratic decision making not only for America but for people around the world."
Two students and two alternatives are chosen from each state, the District of Columbia and DoDEA to represent their state in USSYP. The student delegates are chosen for the program based on their leadership skills, volunteer work and are in the top one percentile of their states for their academic skills.
While the students stay at the Mayflower hotel in downtown D.C. they will attend meetings and briefings with political figures in Washington and tour many of the national monuments and museums.
Students that participate in the program will also receive a $5,000 scholarship and encouragement to continue or pursue courses such as history, public affairs and government.
Brown, a junior, has always had a strong interest in politics "having grown up in a family of ‘arm chair' politicians, who love to sit around the dinner table and debate politics."
"I'm hoping to eventually teach history and government. So when my AP Government teacher told me about the program and recommended that I apply for it, I decided to give it a go," said Brown. "It turned out to be a more complicated process than I had expected but has obviously proven worth the effort."
Brown said he is particularly interested in meeting with senators and congressmen while visiting Washington D.C.
"Since I live in Germany, I haven't had the opportunity to spend much time there. I am very grateful to DODEA and the Hearst Foundation for making this opportunity possible," said Brown. "I realize there were numerous other qualified candidates, so I feel quite fortunate to have been chosen."
Brown is the Student Body Treasurer at Hanau Middle/High School in Germany. He serves as a Student Council Representative and is a member of the National Junior Honor Society of America. He has also received the Presidential Scholar Award. In his spare time Brown enjoys playing golf, skiing and bowling. Brown intends on studying political science and history at Western Washington University.
"The fact that it is an election year, and I just recently registered to vote for the very first time, adds to the excitement," said Brown.
Fitch, a senior, said it was her interest in politics and government as well as the encouragement and motivation of her teachers that encouraged her to apply to USSYP.
"When Dr. Berry first told me that I had been selected I couldn't stop smiling all day. I was thrilled to have such a great opportunity," she said.
Fitch is a member of the National Honor Society at Brussels American School in Belgium. She is on the varsity soccer team and also enjoys horseback riding and tennis in her spare time. Fitch plans on majoring in international relations and Middle Eastern studies at Middlebury College in Vermont.
"I cannot wait to meet and speak with the Senators who govern our nation and see what actually happens in the Capitol, somewhere I hope to end up," said Fitch.
Fitch and Brown will join their fellow USSYP student delegates in D.C. from March 1-8, 2008.
DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages the education programs for Department of Defense (DoD) dependents who would otherwise not have access to a high-quality public education. DoDEA consists of the Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) located overseas, and the Department of Defense Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools (DDESS) located in the United States and its territories and possessions. DoDEA provides education to eligible DoD military and civilian dependents from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.