Hawaii Students Selected for United States Senate Youth Program Students to Participate in the First Online Program and to Receive $10,000 Scholarship
February 22, 2021, Washington, D.C. —The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) announces that high school students Ms. Hollie Rader and Ms. Ashley Pascua Valois will join Senator Brian Schatz and Senator Mazie K. Hirono in representing Hawaii during the 59th annual USSYP Washington Week, to be held March 14 — 17, 2021. Hollie Rader and Ashley Valois both of Waipahu were selected from among the state’s top student leaders to be part of the 104 national student delegation who will each also receive a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate study. Due to the pandemic, the 2021 program will break ground as the first-ever fully virtual Washington Week, and is designed to be a highly interactive and exciting education and leadership forum for the nation’s most outstanding student leaders.
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. However, this year, the program will be held online. 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.
Hollie Rader, a senior at Waipahu High School, serves as a member of the Hawaii State Student Council, a member of the Leeward District Student Council, Key Club division lieutenant governor and cotreasurer of the Spanish National Honor Society. She spread the “Aloha Spirit” creating birthday cards for the homeless, suicide prevention outreach, environmental clean-ups, positivity posters, making face masks, and supporting blood drive campaigns and mental health awareness initiatives. She accomplished these activites between September and December 2020. Hollie’s success can be attributed to taking advantage of every opportunity, but she is now interested in creating her own opportunities to succeed in school and in life.
Ashley Valois, a senior at Waipahu High School, serves as the secretary of the Student Council, and has been a part of leadership throughout high school serving on the Student Council and as a member of the National Honor Society. She works to create ways to improve student life by initiating new clubs and chairing events. Ashley and her mother immigrated to Hawaii when she was 5 years old to join her father, and through facing the challenges of the immigrant experience, she developed a passion for understanding immigration law and the economic disadvantages faced by minority groups. As a result, Ashley sought out ways to get involved, and as one example, she brought the Model UN, which in Hawaii is predominantly a private school activity, to her public school. The opportunity has allowed her to further her passion for change, learn about international law and help her community.
Chosen as alternates to the 2021 program were Ms. Sophia Perry, a resident of Keaau, who attends Kamehameha Schools Hawaii Campus and Ms. Gaayatri Godbole, a resident of Hilo, who attends Waiakea High School.
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 Hawaii delegates and alternates were designated by Ms. Christina M. Kishimoto, Superintendent of Education.
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.
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 5,800 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 alumnus to be elected U.S. senator; Secretary of Transportation and former Mayor of South Bend Indiana, Pete Buttigieg; former 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; former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the first alumnus 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, former presidential advisors Thomas "Mack" McLarty and Karl Rove. Additional notables include former Lt. Governor of Idaho David Leroy, Provost of Wake Forest University Rogan Kersh, military officers, members of state legislatures, Foreign Service officers, top congressional staff, healthcare providers and other university educators.
Members of the U. S. Senate Youth Program 2021 annual Senate Advisory Committee are: Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Democratic Co-Chair; Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma, Republican Co-Chair; Advisory Members: Senator Thomas R. Carper (D-DE); Senator Christopher S. Murphy (D-CT); Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ); Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR); Senator Richard Burr (R-NC); Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND); Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Senator Roger F. Wicker (R-MS). Each year, the Honorary Co-Chairs of the program are the vice president of the United States and the Senate majority and minority leaders.
For more information please visit: www.ussenateyouth.org