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New Canaan Students Make The Grade, Picked For Washington Week Program

Veronica Ma and Charles Sosnick, seniors at New Canaan High School, were chosen for a prestigious one-week program in Washington, D.C., where they will learn more about how the federal government and its three branches work. It's held in March.
Veronica Ma and Charles Sosnick, seniors at New Canaan High School, were chosen for a prestigious one-week program in Washington, D.C., where they will learn more about how the federal government and its three branches work. It's held in March. Photo Credit: Contributed

NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- Two students from New Canaan High School will see up close how the U.S. government works after they were selected to be Connecticut's representatives in an annual program called Washington Week.

Veronica Ma and Charles Sosnick, who are both 17 years old, were chosen from across the state to be among the 104 student delegates from across the nation to take part. The 53rd annual Washington Week will be held from March 7 to March 14.

Ma said she was thrilled to hear she had been chosen for the elite program.

"I applied to the program as it sounded like a fantastic way hands-on way to explore public service and our government," she said.

Sosnick used a football comparison to talk about how he applied for the program.

"It was clear to me that Washington Week would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so I decided to apply and see what happened. Fortunately, that Hail Mary pass worked out," he said.

The two students, both seniors, were urged by their principal, Veronica LeDuc, to apply for the program.

They mailed in their resumes and two essays to the state Department of Education. Out of all the students that applied, the group was whittled down to about 20. They then had to sit for a formal interview in front of a Department of Education panel in Hartford.

They will be meeting a wide range of officials while they are in Washington for the program.

The student delegates attend meetings and briefings with President Barack Obama, U.S. senators, U.S. Representatives and Congressional staff members, a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, leaders of Cabinet agencies, an ambassador to the United States and senior 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

The participants receive a $5,000 university scholarship and also have all their expenses paid for the trip.

The people who have participated in the program in the past include: New Jersey Gov. and potential Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie; fellow New Jersey resident, Sen. Cory Gardner, D-N.J.; and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

In the fall, Ma will be attending Harvard, while Sosnick will attend the University of Pennsylvania.

Students are chosen based on their interest in government, high academic standing and a strong commitment to volunteer work.

Sosnick is senior class president, among other accomplishments. Ma's interests include her work as president of the Class Student Coalition, which has allowed her to be a leader in various community outreach projects.

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