WASHINGTON, D.C — January 28, 2013 — Ms. Marilee Fitzgerald, Director, Department of Defense Education Activity, today announced Makayla Palazzo and Danari White as delegates to the 51st Annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) that will be held March 9 – 16, 2013 in Washington, D.C. The DODEA students were selected from among hundreds of applicants to attend the 51st Annual Washington Week program and to each receive a $5,000 college scholarship.
The USSYP was created by Senate Resolution 324 in 1962 and has been sponsored by the Senate and fully funded by The Hearst Foundations since inception. Originally proposed by Senators Kuchel, Mansfield, Dirksen and Humphrey, the impetus for the program as stated in Senate testimony was “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.”
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 Department of Defense Education Activity — 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 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 of the 104 student delegates with a $5,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs. Transportation and all expenses for Washington Week are also provided by The Hearst Foundations, as stipulated in S.Res.324; no government funds are utilized.
Makayla Palazzo is Student Body president at Kubasaki High School in Okinawa, Japan and represents the Department of Defense Education Activity. She progressed through the student government ranks and proves herself a capable leader as a member of the National Honor Society, Model Congress, and Far East Championship Soccer Team. She plans to attend Georgetown University with aspirations of an appointment to the position of Ambassador. She is also interested in the United Nations human rights sector. Makayla volunteers at a local animal shelter.
Danari White is Junior Class representative at Seoul American High School in Seoul, South Korea and represents the Department of Defense Education Activity. Danari enjoys ballet and playing guitar and is a member of National Honor Society. Danari is the Director of the Economic and Social Council in Model United Nations. She is a Varsity All-American Cheer nominee and crowned Junior Class Homecoming Princess. She intends to earn degrees in political science and French at the University of Central Florida before earning a law degree from Emory University. Danari looks forward to working in a field associated with international relations.
Chosen as alternates to the 2013 program were Bryan Pfirrmann who attends Naples American High School in Italy, and Phillip Ramirez who attends Vilseck High School in Germany.
While in Washington the student delegates will attend meetings and briefings with Senators and Congressional staff, the President, a Justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies, an Ambassador to the United States and top 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 outstanding leadership abilities and a strong commitment to volunteer work, the student delegates 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; New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the first delegate to be elected governor; Congressman Cory Gardner, the first delegate to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives; 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.
Members of the USSYP 2013 51st Annual Senate Advisory Committee are: Co-Chairs — Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina. Advisory Committee — Senator Christopher A. Coons of Delaware, Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Senator Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey, Senator John Boozman of Arkansas, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. Each year, the Honorary Co-Chairs of the program are the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders and the Vice President of the United States.
For questions about the DODEA delegates, alternates or selection process, please contact the DODEA selection administrator: Ms. Sandee Scruggs at (571) 372-5840, Sandee.Scruggs@am.dodea.edu.
For more general information about the United States Senate Youth Program, please contact Program Director, Rayne Guilford at 800-425-3632, www.ussenateyouth.org.