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For Immediate Release
Date: December 8, 2023


(571) 372-0613

DoDEA Students Selected for United States Senate Youth Program

United States Senate Youth Program. Education. Leadership. Public Service.

The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) has announced that high school students Mr. Baden Francis and Mr. Robert Rasmussen will represent the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) during the 62nd annual USSYP Washington Week, to be held March 2 - 9, 2024. Francis, from Okinawa, Japan and Rasmussen from Vilseck, Germany were selected from among DODEA’s top student leaders to be part of the national delegation of 104 students who will each receive a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate study.

Francis Baden

Baden Francis, a U.S. resident, is a junior at Kadena High School in Japan, serves as the vice president of the Junior class, one of many student government roles held throughout his schooling. He is frequently found volunteering in the community and spent several weeks last summer teaching and leading Boy Scouts from across Asia at a leadership training course in Tokyo. Baden is thrilled to represent DoDEA for the Senate Youth Program and anticipates the experience will broaden his understanding of government while cementing his aspirations of future leadership in America.

Robert Rasmussen

Robert Rasmussen, a U.S. resident, is a senior at Vilseck High School in Germany and serves as the battalion commander for his Junior Reserve Officers Training Unit, is an active member of National Honor Society, and participates in both Model United Nations and Model U.S. Senate. Living in Germany since 2016, Robert is passionate about politics and feels the Senate Youth Program experience will give a unique perspective on how the U.S. government functions. He plans on attending the U.S. Air Force Academy.

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 Senate leadership of the day, 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 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 student with a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs. All expenses for Washington Week are also provided by The Hearst Foundations; as stipulated in S.Res.324, no government funds are utilized.

Chosen as alternates to the 2024 program were Benjamin Gallei from Brussels, Belgium, who attends AFNORTH International School and Beau Carson from Camp Humphreys, South Korea, who attends Humphreys High School.

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 6,100 strong, alumni of the program continue to excel and develop impressive qualities that are often directed toward public service.

Delegates and alternates are selected by the state departments of education nationwide and the District of Columbia and Department of Defense Education Activity, after nomination by teachers and principals. The chief state school officer for each jurisdiction confirms the final selection. This year’s DODEA delegates and alternates were designated by Thomas M. Brady, DoDEA Director. During the program week, the student delegates will attend online 
meetings and briefings with senators, the president, a justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies and senior members of the national media, among others. Each year, the Honorary Co-Chairs of the program are the vice president of the United States and the Senate majority and minority leaders.

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.

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