Senators Thomas R. Carper and Christopher Coons today announced the names of the two students who have been selected as delegates to the 50th Anniversary United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) that will be held March 3 – 10, 2012 in Washington, D.C. Benjamin Attia of Hockessin and Timothy Hegedus of Newark were chosen from across the state to be part of the group of 104 student delegates who will attend the program’s 50th Anniversary Washington Week.
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.
Benjamin Attia attends The Charter School of Wilmington and serves as senior class president. In addition, Benjamin is the Senior Council vice president, a member of the 2012 Chapter of National Honor Society, Middle States Accreditation Team, CSW Buddy Mentoring Program, Model UN Club, Peer Leadership Group, and he volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware. Benjamin plans to major in business or environmental policy, go to law school and run for political office.
Timothy Hegedus attends Newark High School and serves as secretary of the Senate for the YMCA Youth-in-Government Program as well as vice chair of the International Criminal Court in the Model United Nations Program. He is a member of the Key Club, student government, drama club, swimming, choir, orchestra, and Delaware All-State Theatre. He plans to double major in political science and drama with a possible minor in gender and sexuality studies and would like to pursue a career in politics or acting.
Chosen as alternates to the 2012 program were Faith Lyons, a resident of Wilmington, who attends Tower Hill School and Robert Pritchard, a resident of Middletown, who attends Appoquinimink High.
The chief educational officer in each state selects the delegates after nomination by teachers and principals. This year’s delegates were designated by Dr. Lillian Lowery, Secretary of Education.
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 2012 50th Anniversary Senate Advisory Committee are: Co-Chairs — Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico and Senator Susan M. Collins of Maine. Advisory Committee — Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York, Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Senator Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland, Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho, Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana and Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama. Each year, the Honorary Co-Chairs of the program
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