Department of Defense Education Activity

DoDEA Delegates for 2020 U.S. Senate Youth Program

For Immediate Release — December 10, 2019 | HQ

ALEXANDRIA, VA — December 10, 2019 — DoDEA Delegates for 2020 U.S. Senate Youth Program ALEXANDRIA, VA — December 9, 2019 — Mr. Thomas Brady, Director, Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), announced Sophie Marro and Edward Balbo as delegates to the 58th annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) to be held March 7 - 14 in Washington, D.C. The two students will be representing DoDEA's 70,000+ military-connected students worldwide and will attend the 58th 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.

Sophie Marro is a senior at SHAPE American High School in Belgium. She is currently the Senior Class President and also President of the American Legion Junior Auxiliary. She consistently participates in Model UN and varsity soccer, serving as Captain last season. In the summer of 2019, Sophie was selected for Girls State, and subsequently attended Girls Nation as an elected Senator. Sophie has a strong interest in Government service and public policy and believes the USSYP experience will expand upon her interest from a new perspective, while also providing insight for future careers.

Edward Balbo is a DoDEA student living overseas on a military base on the island of Sicily. Averaging a 4.21 GPA, Edward has been active in many models of government including Junior President, Minority WHIP at Model United States Senate, a delegate at Model United Nations, and DoDEA Military Kid representative in the 2016 inauguration. Edward feels that the Senate Youth program will be a learning experience on how America functions and a catalyst for his goals of majoring in political science.

While in Washington the student delegates 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.