(Phoenix, Ariz., January 21, 2020) – Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman announced today the Arizona finalists for the 2019-2020 U.S. Senate Youth Program (USSYP).
Victor Fernando Anaya of Douglas and Ashton Leigh Redd of Casa Grande will represent the state during the program’s Washington Week in March. They were selected among the state’s top student leaders to join the program’s 104 national student delegation and will each receive a $10,000 scholarship for undergraduate study.
“I am thrilled that Victor and Ashton will represent Arizona on the national stage as they take part in this prestigious opportunity,” said Superintendent Kathy Hoffman. “These young leaders are already passionate advocates for the issues they see in their own communities, from rural healthcare access to sustainable agriculture practices. I look forward to hearing what they learn in their conversations with national leaders and fellow students and in their meetings with Senator Sinema and Senator McSally.”
Victor Anaya, a senior at Douglas High School, serves as the president of his school's Health Occupation Students of America chapter. He currently serves as an executive officer for the Cochise County Youth Health Coalition and is the Student Body secretary. His work leading Cochise County's Tobacco 21 initiative resulted in the Douglas City Council's vote to raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21. Victor's passion for increasing healthcare access in rural areas and building his community's overall health is made clear throughout his many leadership experiences and volunteer work. He hopes to become a Food and Drug Administration medical officer.
Ashton Redd, a senior at Casa Grande Union High School, serves as the president of the Arizona South Central Region of The Future Farmers of America (FFA). She is an advocate and upcoming leader in the Arizona agriculture industry. In the leadership opportunities she has had with the FFA, Ashton has become an expert presenter on federal and state water management policies. She has educated her peers, community, and state leaders about the impact of these policies on farms in her hometown of Casa Grande, while leading her team in becoming Arizona's 2019 FFA Chapter of the Year. Ashton is also active in DECA, an organization for emerging business, marketing, and communications professionals, 4-H, and is a member of her high school volleyball team.
Chosen as alternates to the 2020 program were Mr. Connor Glenn Alleman, a resident of Kingman, who attends Kingman Academy of Learning and Ms. Akhila Bandlora, a resident of Phoenix, who attends BASIS Phoenix.
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. 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. Transportation and all expenses for Washington Week are also provided by The Hearst Foundations; as stipulated in S.Res.324, no government funds are utilized.
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 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."