WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) attended the 57th annual U.S. Senate Youth Program (USSYP) reception to honor the two 2019 Alabama delegates, Catherine Lynn Daniel of Deatsville and Ariana Gabrielle Smartt of Huntsville, for their academic excellence, exceptional leadership abilities, and dedication to volunteer work. Daniel and Smartt were selected among the state’s top student leaders to be part of the 104 national student delegation for this year’s USSYP.
“Catherine Daniel and Ariana Smartt are two excellent choices to represent the state of Alabama in the U.S. Senate Youth Program,” said Senator Shelby. “This esteemed program provides students an opportunity to gain a better understanding of how our government functions. The selection of Catherine and Ariana reflects their strong leadership qualities and achievements at such a young age. I applaud them for their interest in public service and devotion to hard work, and I believe they each have a bright future ahead of them.”
Daniel is currently a senior at Holtville High School and serves as Alabama DECA State President and Holtville High School's DECA President. DECA is a student led organization for those interested in becoming entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. She is also a member of the Holtville High School BETA Club and Mu Alpha Theta. Additionally, she serves as a school ambassador as well as band captain and section leader. After graduation, Catherine plans to ultimately obtain a doctorate in occupational therapy.
Smartt, a senior at Randolph School, serves as vice chairwoman of the Executive Board of the High School Democrats of America, an organization centered on involving teenagers in government with thousands of members nationwide. She has also been active in local campaigns. For her community activism, Ariana has received Yale University's Bassett Award for Community Engagement and was named “Young Leader of the Year” from her local Democratic party. After graduation, she plans to study international relations, with an ultimate goal of promoting world peace, democracy, and liberty as a diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service.
While in Washington for the annual USSYP Washington Week, the student delegates have the opportunity to attend meetings and briefings with members of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressional staff, the President, a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, leaders of federal agencies, an ambassador to the United States, and members of the media. The students will also tour many of the national monuments and visit several museums in the nation’s capital.
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 its inception. No government funds are used.
The program serves as an educational opportunity for high school students interested in pursuing careers in public service. Two delegates from each state, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity are selected each year to spend a week in Washington, D.C., learning about and experiencing the U.S. federal government.
The chief state school officer for each jurisdiction confirms the final selection of students. This year’s Alabama delegates and alternates were designated by Dr. Eric Mackey, Superintendent of Education. The delegates selected rank academically in the top one percent of their state among high school juniors and seniors. Additionally, each student selected to participate in the program is awarded a $10,000 scholarship to assist with undergraduate studies at any chosen university.