New Canaan High School Seniors Veronica Ma, Charles Sosnick Selected for Venerable U.S. Senate Youth Program


Two New Canaan High School seniors have earned a $5,000 college scholarship and weeklong trip to the nation’s capital under a prestigious, competitive program whose alumni include congressmen, governors, judges, ambassadors and presidential advisors.

New Canaan High School seniors Veronica Ma and Charles Sosnick, Connecticut's 2015 delegates to the prestigious United States Senate Youth Program. Contributed

New Canaan High School seniors Veronica Ma and Charles Sosnick, Connecticut’s 2015 delegates to the prestigious United States Senate Youth Program. Contributed

Veronica Ma and Charles Sosnick are Connecticut’s delegates to the 53rd annual United States Senate Youth Program—the first time in memory, officials say, that the two participants selected from each state are also from the same high school.

The pair will attend “Washington Week” next month, and the program—sponsored by the U.S. Senate and funded by The Hearst Foundations, is designed “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,” according to a press release.

Veronica called it “a once-in-a-life-time kind of thing.”

“It’s crazy that a high schooler like me can experience D.C. from such an incredible, first-hand perspective,” she told in an email. “I’m especially thrilled because I’m looking to concentrate in government next year in college, so Washington Week will be an amazing way for me to explore our nation’s governmental system. Finally, it’s a real honor to be able to go alongside Charlie, as we have been friends for years and I have no doubt in his ability to represent Connecticut well in the program.”

Here’s some background from the same release on each of these NCHS seniors:

  • Veronica Ma is president of the Class Student Coalition, which has allowed her to lead in various community outreach projects. She is a high honors student with specific achievement in foreign languages and the humanities. She also serves as president of the China Care Club, an organization providing funds and awareness for at-risk Chinese children. Veronica also follows her passions as a debater, piano teacher, and ESL teaching volunteer.
  • Charles Sosnick serves as Student Body president. He’s captain of the school’s Model United Nations team and co-founder of its Interfaith Dialogue Club. Charles additional is a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist and writes for the outstanding school newspaper, the Courant. Outside of the classroom, he enjoys writing and performing comedy. Charles will attend the University of Pennsylvania this fall.

During Washington Week (March 7 to 14), paid for entirely by Hearst (not the government), they’ll attend meetings and briefings with U.S. senators and representatives, President Barack Obama, a U.S. Supreme Court justice, cabinet leaders, an ambassador to the United States and members of the capital’s media corps.

Candidates for the program must have “outstanding leadership abilities and a strong commitment to volunteer work” and they typically rank in the 1 percent of their states among high school juniors and seniors, the press release said.

Alumni include U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and U.S. Sen. Corey Gardner, who also has served as a U.S. representative, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit Chief Judge Robert Henry, former Ambassador to West Germany Richard Burt and former presidential advisors Thomas “Mack” McLarty and Karl Rove.

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