NJDOE News

For More Information Contact the Public Information Office:
    Jon Zlock
    Kathryn Forsyth, Director
    609-292-1126

For Release: January 12, 2007


Two New Jersey Students Selected for U.S. Senate Youth Program

Two students from the North Hunterdon/Voorhees Regional High School District in Hunterdon County have been named delegates for the 2007 U.S. Senate Youth Program.

Danielle Desaulniers, a senior at North Hunterdon High School, is the Youth Governor of New Jersey, a National Honor Society member and vice president of the Teenage Republicans Club at her school, as well as a varsity alternate on the fencing team and junior varsity squad coordinator.

Bessie Young, a senior at Voorhees High School, is the senior class vice president and member of the National Honor Society, a member of her local first aid squad, and a member and lieutenant governor of the Key Club.

"These two seniors are shining examples of what hard work, dedication and leadership mean," said Commissioner of Education Lucille E. Davy. "Both Danielle and Bessie are excellent examples of what New Jersey students have to offer. The Senate Youth Program should only further their interest in government and its importance."

This is the 45th year of the U.S. Senate Youth Program. Each year, two student leaders from each state and the District of Columbia travel to the nation's capitol to see their national government in action. This year's week-long program begins March 3.

Each delegate is also awarded a $5,000 College Scholarship for undergraduate studies. In New Jersey, 117 schools were represented in the applicant pool.

Danielle plans to attend college and major in political science. She also plans on attending law school and enter the world of politics.

"I feel the more experience I have with our actual government, the more aptly prepared I will be to serve in a similar position," she wrote in her application letter. "Statistics show that the level of apathy among youth is increasing exponentially and this is unallowable. I hope that through the activism of dedicated students, this disturbing trend will eventually be reversed."

Bessie is heavily involved in Key Club. This year, she is the club's district project co-chair for New Jersey and has spearheaded efforts to raise $58,000 for Children's Specialized Hospital. She has also spent more than 100 hours collecting, washing and distributing clothes to the homeless in New York City.

"I want to be a leader for the rest of my life," Bessie wrote on her application. "I want to lead others in doing good acts. I will undoubtedly benefit from this experience."

Both seniors were lauded by school officials.

"Danielle is a focused, energetic, conscientious, responsible, well-organized and mature young woman," said Michael Hughes, principal at North Hunterdon. "When she speaks, her eyes sparkle and she exudes confidence, enthusiasm and warmth. Danielle's integrity, work ethic and industriousness set her apart from her classmates."

"Bessie is a capable, mature young woman, a born leader who has an innate enthusiasm for every endeavor she undertakes," said principal David Steffan of Voorhees High. "She puts forth 110 percent effort to accomplish both personal and group goals. Her dependability and conscientiousness are admirable."

In addition to the two students selected to attend the conference as delegates, state officials selected two alternates: Bailey Thomas, a senior at Belvidere High School in Warren County, and Danielle Vildostegui, a senior at Princeton High School in Mercer County.

Department officials oversee the selection process in New Jersey. Once applications are distributed and collected, the department convenes a panel of experts in social studies and government and selects students based on the following criteria: leadership qualities, academic standing, community involvement and clarity of speech and thought.

For more information, please contact the Department of Education Public Information Office at (609) 292-1126.