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For the second straight year, two Europe-based students will represent the Department of Defense Education Activity in the U.S. Senate Youth Program in Washington, D.C.

Brianna Fitch, a senior at Brussels (Belgium) American School, and Chris Brown, a junior at Hanau Middle/High School in Germany, were selected along with 102 other students across the United States. States select two representatives, while the District of Columbia and DODEA each get two slots.

Every student selected gets a $5,000 scholarship to use at the university of his choice as well as the opportunity to participate in a series of events in and around the nation’s capital from March 1-8.

The DODEA students also get to spend time with delegations from their parents’ home states.

For Fitch, that’s Florida.

“I’m thrilled with the opportunity to go to the capital and see how things are on the inside,” said Fitch, the senior class president at her school. She’s planning to attend Middlebury College in Vermont and major in international relations.

Fitch, 17, said she is looking forward to meeting senators, visiting places such as Arlington National Cemetery and the Smithsonian Institution “and discussing politics with kids my age.”

Brown, also 17, is student body treasurer and junior class treasurer at Hanau. He’ll be joining two other delegates from the state of Washington.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” he said. “I’m looking to be able to meet with my senators.”

The son of two teachers, Brown said he’s very interested in politics, but will probably decide to follow in his parents’ footsteps and teach government at some level. He plans to attend Western Washington University.

Though Fitch and Brown grabbed the most prestigious honors for DODDS-Europe students interested in politics, hundreds of others will be participating in politically themed events during the next few months. More than 130 students from 11 DODDS-Europe schools will participate in the Model U.N. conference at The Hague in the Netherlands from Jan. 27-Feb. 2.

Lucky Moore, social studies specialist for secondary schools for DODDS-Europe, said the annual gathering in The Hague is a huge event, attracting thousands of students from local schools across Europe. Delegations normally select a country or organization they wish to represent and spend months doing research. They then take part in sessions in the Security Council or International Court of Justice, or debate bills in committees before they’re discussed at the end of the week in the General Assembly.

Similar events are scheduled this year in Prague, Czech Republic (Feb. 15-18), and Dublin, Ireland (March 17-22), with DODDS schools set to participate. Students in Naples, Italy, attended one in Paris in November.

Also, DODDS-Europe will hold its own model U.S. Senate event in Heidelberg, Germany, on April 21-25.

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
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