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Kathryn Forsyth, Director
For Release: January 23, 2008
Two New Jersey Delegates Named to U.S. Senate Youth Program
Carissa Clark, a senior at Jonathan Dayton High School in Springfield, Union County, and Benjamin Farber, a senior at Moorestown High School in Burlington County, have been named New Jersey Delegates for this year’s U.S. Senate Youth Program in Washington, D.C.
Education Commissioner Lucille E. Davy selected the two seniors from a pool of 148 well-qualified New Jersey candidates for the annual program, which will be held this year from March 1 through 8 and is sponsored by the U.S. Senate and William Randolph Hearst Foundation. Students are recommended by teachers and principals.
“Both Carissa Clark and Benjamin Farber are exemplary students who will represent New Jersey well,” Commissioner Davy said. “Their experiences in Washington will make them better leaders in their schools and communities – and as they continue on their paths to college and beyond.”
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. Each delegate is also awarded a $5,000 College Scholarship for undergraduate studies. The program has been fully-funded by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation since its inception in 1962.
A straight-A student, Clark is president of her senior class, the school’s chapter of Amnesty International, and the Key Club. She is the opinions editor and business manager of her school newspaper and was the co-founder of her school’s Student Principal Advisory Committee. She also volunteers with the Agape Soup Kitchen and as a middle school tutor.
“I strongly believe my peers and I need to speak loudly, advocate vigorously, and set goals and visions for the future of our country,” Clark wrote in her application essay. “With this program, I will have the opportunity to share my newfound knowledge with my peers. By participating in the United States Senate Youth Program, I will build further on my interests and solidify my passion to better the condition of others.”
Principal Elizabeth Cresci says Clark is an “extraordinarily bright and caring young woman.
“Carissa is a self-starter with a prodigious appetite for hard work,” Cresci wrote in her recommendation letter. “She is an outstanding student who exhibits the combination of balance, curiosity, tremendous motivation to succeed and an extraordinary work ethic.”
At Moorestown High School, Benjamin Farber is president of his senior class, the Environmental Club, and the Moorestown High School Community Service Council. He is a member of the varsity tennis team, the International Affairs Club and Moorestown Democrats Club. He has been a member of the student council for all four of his academic years, and was also the junior class president.
“In everything I do, I constantly strive to be the leader,” Farber wrote in his application letter. “When I learned of the United States Senate Youth Program, I recognized an ideal opportunity to refine my leadership skills, to develop a deeper understanding of my country and the inner workings of federal government, and to further explore my passion for politics and my goals for the future.”
“Ben is a bright and socially-conscious young man who follows through on his commitments,” principal Andrew Seibel wrote in his recommendation letter. “He personifies school spirit. Anything that is asked of him, he does willingly and with enthusiasm. Moorestown High School has benefited as a result of Ben’s involvement and contributions.”
While in the nation’s capital, Clark and Farber will attend meetings and briefings with Senate leadership, other Senators and Congressional staff; the President, a Justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies, an Ambassador to the United States and top members of the national media. The students will also tour many of the national monuments and several museums. They will stay at the historic Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.
In addition to the two students selected to attend the conference as delegates, state officials selected two alternates: Alexander Greenberg, a senior at Morris Hills High School in Rockaway, Morris County, and Stephanie Municchi, a senior at Barnegat High School in Barnegat, Ocean 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.