Park City's Caroline Waldmann Selected for Prestigious U.S. Senate Youth Event
A Park City High School senior was recently chosen as one of two selections to represent Utah in the prestigious United States Senate Youth program.
Caroline Waldmann will join U.S. Senators Mitt Romney and Mike Lee next month representing Utah during the 59th annual U.S. Senate Youth Program Washington Week that will be held virtually March 14 through 18. Participants receive a $10,000 undergraduate scholarship.
According to Waldmann’s dad, it has been 33 years since the last time a Park City High School student made it into the program.
Robert Austin, who manages the Utah Senate program for the state, says he can’t remember the last time a Park City student was selected. But he notes that all of the kids who get nominated by their educators are winners.
“They're like little Mozarts, I mean, you read their resumes and the kinds of service they've done and the kinds of ways they've been connected in their community already at the ages they are and you, and you think to yourself … they’re just amazing kids,” Austin said.
Caroline Waldmann was nominated for her participation on the National Honor Society and Debate Team. Once nominated, she had a lot of work to do to prepare for the selection process among all Utah nominees.
“We had to write a 20-page portfolio,” she said. “I think there were four or five sections, and it was supposed to encompass basically everything that you've done throughout high school. You had photos... I wrote little, like, essays for different activities that were really important to me. And you sent that into, I think the board, the panel of people who are judging. And then we had a day of competition where you wrote a timed essay. We weren't given a prompt beforehand; it was just like, ‘here's the prompts, go your 45 minutes.’ We competed in a roundtable discussion, which I think was really interesting. And you did an impromptu speech, and then I think they took all of that into account. And that's the five finalists.”
From the five finalists, the Hearst Foundation selected the two Utah winners and the two alternates.
She’s hopeful delegates will get to meet President Joe Biden, a Supreme Court Justice and even some cabinet members. She and the other Utah delegate have already discussed their questions for Utah’s two Republican senators.
“We want to ask Mitt Romney a lot about, you know, he was governor of Massachusetts and now he's part of Utah's representative government and we want to know, kind of how he feels about that,” Waldmann said. “Also, he is pretty famous I guess for not necessarily going along with the rest of his party which we both think is really cool. But we wanted to ask him more about how he's kind of come to that sort of worldview and stances of politician.”
As for Sen. Lee, who recently opened the 2021 CPAC gathering in Florida, Waldmann says that her questions for him are more policy-based.
Had it been any other year, all of the delegates would enjoy an all expenses paid trip to Washington, but like so many of the COVID losses, they will have to experience this virtually as well. Austin says they’ve tried to replicate the live experience the best they could.
As one of the judges, he’s confident America is in good hands with these future leaders.
“I get to realize that my Social Security is probably in good hands,” he said. “You know, these students are just amazing. And, you know, the Republic is in good hands. We've got just some amazing, amazing young people in this state.”
Waldmann hasn’t committed to her college offers yet, but says she’s leaning toward the University of Chicago, where she thinks she’ll study economics and philosophy before going on to law school.