Lewis-Palmer High School senior AnneMarie Ackerman will join Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner, along with Ethan Wearner of Monarch High School in Louisville, Colo., in representing Colorado in Washington, D.C. during the 57th annual United States Senate Youth Program Washington Week, March 2-9.
Ackerman and Wearner were chosen from among the state’s top student leaders to be part of the 104 national student delegation and will each receive a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate study, with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs.
Created by Senate Resolution 324 in 1962, sponsored by the Senate and fully funded by The Hearst Foundations since inception, the USSYP was originally proposed by Senators Kuchel, Mansfield, Dirksen and Humphrey “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 competitive merit-based program brings outstanding high school students — two from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity — to the nation’s capital 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.
Ackerman is the Rho Kappa Honor Society president and was a 2018 Girls Nation delegate. She is a student ambassador for the Colorado secretary of State, a Public Forum debate regional champion, captain of her varsity tennis team, and editor in chief for her school newspaper. She began a highly successful initiative to support local refugees and is president of her church youth group. Ackerman is an AP Scholar and is in the running for salutatorian. She plans to major in political science and attend law school with a focus on human rights.
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 Colorado delegates and alternates were designated by Katy Anthes, Commissioner of Education.
While in Washington the student delegates attend meetings and briefings with senators, members of the House of Representatives, 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 their 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 5,700 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; 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, and former presidential advisors Thomas “Mack” McLarty and Karl Rove.
Members of the bipartisan U. S. Senate Youth Program 2019 Senate Advisory Committee: Senator Joni K. Ernst of Iowa, Republican Co-Chair; Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Democratic Co- Chair; Advisory Members: Susan M. Collins (R-ME), Steve Daines (R-MT), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), John Kennedy (R-LA), Michael F. Bennet (D-CO), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).
Each year, the honorary co-chairs of the program are the vice president of the United States and the Senate majority and minority leaders.