Wilmington High School Senior Miriam Nelson Selected For U.S. Senate Youth Program, Receives $10,000 College Scholarship

Below is a press release from the United States Senate Youth Program:

WASHINGTON, DC — The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) announces that high school students Ms. Miriam Faith Nelson and Mr. Jack Harlow Perenick will join Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Edward J. Markey in representing Massachusetts during the 59th annual USSYP Washington Week, to be held March 14 — 17, 2021. Miriam Nelson of Wilmington and Jack Perenick of Longmeadow 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 thenation’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 statedin 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.

Miriam Nelson, a senior at Wilmington High School, serves as co-president of the Senior Class, treasurer of the National Honor Society, treasurer of the local Rotary Interact club, and president of her school’s Model UN. Before the pandemic, she was also a captain of Girls Track and Field and hosted birthday parties at a laser tag entertainment center. Miriam co-founded Project Make Your Mark, which celebrates students and the community-at-large through ceiling tile art. In addition, she interned at the Massachusetts State House, where she was able to pursue her passion for public service. Miriam was admitted to Harvard College, where she hopes to study economics and government. She plans to learn all she can about the economics of the internet, the environment, energy, labor, and education, and how these translate to policy to improve the lives of others.

Jack Perenick, a senior at Wilbraham and Monson Academy, serves as president of the HampdenDistrict Attorney’s Youth Advisory Board, president of his school’s Société Honoraire de Français chapter,and as a Senior Class officer at his school. He plans to major in political science and public policy andhopes to earn a Master’s degree in public administration, helping him understand the best way to usegovernmental tools to solve his generation’s landmark struggles. He plans to attend college in New England, where he feels deeply connected to local politics and could change the political environment by promoting more direct democracy reforms. Jack plans to run for state legislature in 2022 or 2024 to enact legislation to institute public funding of campaigns, increase the referendum’s power, and implement electoral reforms, such as ranked-choice voting.

Chosen as alternates to the 2021 program were Mr. Luke Carroll, a resident of Belmont, who attends Belmont Hill School and Mr. William Hu, a resident of Boston, who attends Boston Latin 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’sMassachusetts delegates and alternates were designated by Mr. Jeffrey C. Riley, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary 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.

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