Skip to main content

For Immediate Release — December 17, 2010 | HQ
: DoDEA Educational Communications Officers | (703) 588-3260
: DoDEA Educational Communications Officers | (703) 588-3272

ARLINGTON, VA — December 17, 2010 — Two Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) students will travel to Washington as delegates to the 49th annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) to be held March 5-12, 2011 in Washington, D.C. Ryan McDonnell from Lakenheath, England and Robert Dewitt from Aviano, Italy were selected from among hundreds of applicants to attend the program.

The United States Senate Youth Program, established in 1962 by U.S. Senate Resolution, is a unique educational experience for outstanding high school students interested in pursuing careers in public service. Two student leaders from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity will spend a week in Washington experiencing their national government in action.

Student delegates will hear major policy addresses by Senators, cabinet members, officials from the Departments of State and Defense and directors of other federal agencies, as well as participate in a meeting with a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

In addition to the program week, the foundation grants each of the 104 student delegates a $5,000 college scholarship with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs. Transportation and all expenses for Washington Week are provided by the foundation; no government funds are utilized.

Ryan McDonnell is a senior at Lakenheath High School in Lakenheath, England. He is first in his class academically and has been a participant in both the Model United Nations (MUN) and the Model United States Senate. McDonnell serves as the treasurer for his class and as the Vice President of the National Honor Society. He has earned his varsity letter in three sports. He plans to become a pilot or aeronautical engineer in the U.S. Air Force.

“Ryan is extremely adept in oral and written communications and has addressed hundreds of students at the Lakenheath MUN conference in England, the Ivanovo MUN Conference in Russia and The Hague International MUN conference in the Netherlands,” said Barbara Lee, Assistant Principal of Lakenheath High School. “He is very versatile and handles many roles and responsibilities without a problem.”

Robert DeWitt is a Junior at Aviano Middle/High School in Aviano, Italy. DeWitt is the Vice President of his class. He has been an active member of the International Student Leadership Institute as a participant and as a director. He is an accomplished pianist and the captain of his soccer team. He plans to major in political science en route to law school. His ultimate goal is to become a career politician.

“Robert is the entire package: academically driven, popular with his fellow students, and respected by his teachers, peers and parents,” said Kenneth Younkin, Assistant Principal, Aviano Middle/High School. “Robert is a well-rounded individual.”

Chosen as alternates to the 2010 program were Matthew Harvey, from Kaiserslautern High School, in Kaiserslautern, Germany and Kristine Bremer from Heidelberg High School in Heidelberg, Germany.

In addition to outstanding leadership abilities and a strong commitment to public service, this year’s students rank academically in the top one percent of their states. To learn more about the USSYP visit:

DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education programs for Department of Defense (DoD) dependents who would otherwise not have access to a high-quality, public education. DoDEA schools are located in Europe, the Pacific, the United States, Cuba, Guam and Puerto Rico. DoDEA also provides support and resources to Local Education Activities throughout the U.S. that serve children of military families.

DoDEA HQ Office of Communications

4800 Mark Center Dr.
Alexandria, VA 22350-1400

The DoDEA Communications Office initiates and manages DoDEA's communications and outreach efforts worldwide. The office coordinates press relations, internal information programs and communication with students, parents, teachers, school administrators and the public.

The HQ Communications Office:

Issues news releases and media advisories about DoDEA initiatives, employees and programs Produces video and television promotional and informational products marketed worldwide Maintains the DoDEA web site Designs printed promotional and informational material and graphic artwork to accompany publications, promotions and initiatives

Area Communications Offices: