The USSYP was created by Senate Resolution 324 in 1962 and has been sponsored by the Senate and full 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, weeklong 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 Senate Resolution 324; no government funds are used.
Cavallo is an officer of the Senior Class Student Council at Reno High School. She exemplifies the highest standards of excellence. Cavallo has become an effective leader due to the balance she has mastered between extracurricular activities and academics. In addition, Cavallo volunteers for many outside activities to help her community.
Okuda-Lim is junior class president at Valley High School. As a student in the International Baccalaureate Program, he has helped to redefine what leadership and activism really mean. His commitment to finding real solutions to real problems permeates everything he does.
Chosen as alternates to the 2010 program were Sabrina Meier, a resident of Las Vegas and a student at Silverado High School and Taylor Ashton of Henderson and a student of Green Valley High School.