RUTLAND— The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) announced Jan. 11, that high school students Harrison Onward Clark Bushnell and Connor James Solimano will join Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator Bernard Sanders in representing Vermont in the nation’s capital during the 56th annual USSYP Washington Week, to be held March 3-10. Harrison Bushnell of Middlesex and Connor Solimano of Rutland were selected from among the state’s top student leaders to be part of the delegation who will also each receive a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate study.
Connor Solimano attends Rutland High School and is a student representative on the Vermont Board of Education and the student representative on the Rutland City School District Board of Education. As such, he represents students in six schools.
Harrison Bushnell attends U32 High School and serves as the leader of the executive council and as a member of other school groups. He was successful in bringing California’s civil schools to his school and community, and helped implement restorative practice circles at U32. He was Green Mountain Boys State governor and a Boys Nation senator. He spent a semester in Washington, D.C. as a U.S. Senate page, and is the student representative on Vermont Governor Phil Scott’s Climate Action Commission. Harrison is a captain of the varsity soccer team, plays varsity tennis, and enjoys piano, hiking, and skiing.
The USSYP was created by Senate Resolution 324 in 1962. 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 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 student with a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs.