US Senate Youth Program Scholarship

Press Release
Unites States Senate Youth Brochure
Information for studying for the USSYP Public Affairs Exam

The Unites States Senate Youth Scholarship Program is a nationwide youth program that brings high school students to Washington, D.C., for a brief on-site introduction to the functions of the federal government and, in particular, the United States Senate.

The Program:

1. The 2018 United States Senate Youth Program was held in Washington, D.C. March 3 – March 10, 2018.

2. Each high school principal may submit two nominations on forms supplied by the Department of Education (DOE). Nominations must be faxed or postmarked no later than September 22, 2017. When DOE receives a nomination, a copy of the Qualifying Examination is sent to the person identified on the form to administer the exam. The test shall be administered under the usual conditions that prevail under testing situations. The test must be returned to the DOE and postmarked no later than October 27, 2017.

3. DOE will select two delegates to represent South Dakota in the Program. Selections will be based on the results of a Qualifying Examination and on demonstrated qualities of leadership. Each state agency must submit the names of their two delegates to the foundation on or before December 8, 2017. A representative of the William Randolph Hearst Foundation will confirm each student's appointment as a delegate with the respective high school principal. The William Randolph Hearst Foundation will notify delegates by sending a letter to their home address.

4. The program is funded by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. The foundation will pay all expenses for the Washington week including transportation, hotel, and meals. The foundation will arrange transportation to and from Washington, D.C. It will be a local responsibility to transport each delegate to and from the nearest commercial airport, bus terminal, or railroad station. No tours or side trips will be permitted by individual delegates en route to or from Washington, D.C.

5. The student is required to be actively serving in an elected or appointed capacity in any one of the following student government, civic or educational organizations during the 2017-18 school year:

  • Student body president, vice-president, secretary or treasurer
  • Class president, vice-president, secretary or treasurer
  • Student council representative
  • National Honor Society officer
  • Student representative elected or appointed (appointed by a panel, commission or board) to a local, district, regional or state-level civic, service and/or educational organization, approved by the state selection administrator

6. Participation or holding an officer position in academic clubs and/or educational competition programs / conferences do not qualify a student for the USSYP, although many students who qualify participate in such.
The positions listed below do NOT qualify the student for the program:

  • Attendance or officer position at Boys/Girls Nation/State summer conference
  • Member of the National Honor Society (serving as an elected officer for the organization for the entire school year is acceptable)
  • A founder or chairperson of a self-created group
  • A participant, captain or officer in Mock Trial, Debate Team, Model UN or other academic club, conference or competition

7. Each delegate must be either a junior or senior student and has not previously been a delegate to the Program.

8. Each student must be a legal permanent resident or citizen of the United States at the time of the application. The student must be enrolled for the entire academic year in a public or independent high school located in the state (including for these purposes the District of Columbia) in which at least one of their parents or guardians currently resides.

9. A $10,000.00 scholarship award is made available to each delegate, subject to requirements and conditions as established by the foundation. A scholarship for each alternate will also be available.

10. Each delegate will be a guest of the United States Senate throughout the program and will be required to conduct himself or herself in such a manner as to reasonably assure that neither the United States Senate nor the Senate Youth Program will be discredited as a result of the conduct of such delegate.

11. Please refer to the United States Senate Youth Program brochure link at the top of this page for complete details.

The United States Senate Youth Scholarship Program Website can be found at:
2017 Student Delegate Essay, Amanda Finnegan
2017 Student Delegate Essay, Bridger Gordon
2011 Student Delegate Essay

Past Senate Youth Scholarship Participants

2018 Recipients
Derick Peters, West Central High School, Delegate Isaac Olson, Mobridge-Pollock High School, Delegate Kashfia Rahman, Brookings High School, Alternate 1 Dylan Burns, Belle Fourche High School, Alternate 2
2017 Recipients
Amanda Finnegan, Vermillion High School, Delegate Bridger Gordon, Sturgis Brown High School, Delegate Hannah Young, Spearfish High School, Alternate 1 Corbin Olson, St. Thomas More High School, Alternate 2
2016 Recipients
Manaal Ali, Harrisburg High School, Delegate Caroline Moriarty, Roosevelt High School, Delegate Kyla Oster, Hot Springs High School, Alternate 1 Max Hawkins, Roosevelt High School, Alternate 2
2015 Recipients
Patrick Binder, Yankton High School, Delegate Gerald Fraas, West Central High School, Delegate Ryan O’Connell, O’Gorman High School, Alternate 1 Joshua Thurow, Oldham-Ramona High School, Alternate 2
2014 Recipients
Lane Haskell, St. Thomas More High School, Delegate Gina Elmore, Hot Springs High School, Delegate Jackson Shriver, Watertown High School, Alternate 1 Lucas Bartl, Mitchell High School, Alternate 2
2013 Recipients
Samantha Beck, T.F. Riggs High School, Delegate Elizabeth Renner, West Central High School, Delegate David Day, Vermillion High School, Alternate 1 Stetson Heirigs, Aberdeen Central, Alternate 2
2012 Recipients
James Updike, Rapid City Stevens High School, Delegate Elise Twohy, St. Thomas More High School, Delegate Joseph Schartz, West Central High School, Alternate 1 Anthony Husher, Winner High School, Alternate 2
2011 Recipients
Jacob Naasz, Winner High School, Delegate Samuel Dunkle, Brookings High School, Delegate Brent Olinger, Bridgewater-Emery High School, Alternate 1 Jacqueline Wilson, St. Thomas More High School, Alternate 2
2010 Recipients
Jeffery Young, Spearfish High School, Delegate Sarah Day, Vermillion High School, Delegate Louis Kjerstad, St. Thomas More, Alternate 1 Alex Bordewyk, Madison High School, Alternate 2
2009 Recipients
Nolan Goetzinger, Rapid City, Delegate McKenzie Jordan, Dakota Dunes, Delegate Samuel Carlson, Sioux Falls, Alternate 1 Tyler Littau, Carter, Alternate 2
2008 Recipients
Jacob Fuhrman, Aberdeen, Delegate John Wilson, Rapid City, Delegate Alik Parry, Brandon, Alternate 1 Landon White, Sioux Falls, Alternate 2