WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senator Robert Menendez today attended the United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) Senate Reception to honor all of the participants, especially the two students representing New Jersey: Brett Biebelberg of Springfield Township and Julia Rivera of Blairstown Township.
“I am so proud of the two students here from New Jersey – as I am of all the amazing students here today,” said Menendez (D-NJ). “It is great to see any young person express an avid interest in government, and especially impressive when you realize how many other things these kids are doing, leading, and excelling in. Brett and Julia have had tremendous success so far and would certainly be nice additions to the federal government. In the meantime, I hope they enjoy this great program and learn a lot.”
Biebelberg attends Jonathan Dayton High School in Springfield Township. He is president of the Student Council, editor-in-chief of the school newspaper and vice president of the N.J. Junior State of America chapter. He is also a charter member of the Gay Straight Alliance and belongs to the National and Spanish National Honor Societies. He plans to attend college and wants to continue serving his community.
Rivera attends North Warren Regional High School in Blairstown Township. She is president of the Student Council, a student representative to the local Board of Education, co-president of the Interact Club, vice president of the National Honor Society and a drum major in the marching band. She has served as a buddy to U.S. veterans on a previous trip to Washington, D.C., and was a delegate to New Jersey Girls State. She plans to major in history and minor in Spanish and political science.
The USSYP was created in 1962 by Congress and is sponsored by the Senate and fully funded by the Hearst Foundation. Each year, in a competitive merit-based program, 104 High School students are selected (two from each state, D.C., and the Department of Defense Education Activity) to spend one week in Washington, D.C., studying the federal government and the people who run it. To initially qualify, students must rank academically in the top one percent of their states among high school juniors and seniors. As a group, the students attend meetings and briefing with Senators and Congressional staff, the President, a Supreme Court Justice, Cabinet members, an Ambassador and media members. Each student is also given a $5,000 undergraduate college scholarship.
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