United States Senate Youth Program Scholarship Logo

United States Senate Youth Program Scholarship


The application deadline has passed.
Application information will be available in August 2019.

The United States Senate Youth Program Scholarship 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 2019 United States Senate Youth Program will be held in Washington, D.C. March 2 – March 9, 2019.
  2. Each high school principal may submit two applications on forms supplied by the Department of Education (DOE). Applications must be faxed or postmarked no later than September 21, 2018. When DOE receives an application, 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 26, 2018.
  3. New this year: Each student must include one (1) letter of recommendation with their application.
  4. 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 1, 2018. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. The student must hold a leadership position in any one of the following student government, civic or educational organizations during the 2018-19 academic year:
    • Student body president, vice-president, secretary or treasurer
    • Class president, vice-president, secretary or treasurer
    • Student council representative
    • National Honor Society officer (including discipline-based Honor Societies such as the National English and Social Studies Honor Societies that include service components)
    • 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
  7. 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 these activities.
      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 where the primary engagement is for individual educational enrichment
  8. Each delegate must be either a junior or senior student and has not previously been a delegate to the Program.
  9. RESIDENCY: Each student must be a legal permanent resident or citizen of the United States at the time of the application. Students must be enrolled for the entire academic year in a public or independent high school located in the state (and for these purposes the District of Columbia) in which at least one of their parents or guardians currently resides. Home-educated students must be approved by their State Department of Education to apply. For exceptions to the residency requirement refer to the United States Senate Youth Program brochure.
  10. A $10,000.00 scholarship award is made available to each delegate, subject to requirements and conditions as established by the foundation.
  11. 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.
  12. Please refer to the United States Senate Youth Program brochure link at the top of this page for complete program details

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

Past Senate Youth Scholarship Participants
    2019 Recipients
    • Jack Brenneman, Roosevelt High School, Delegate
    • Rylee Niesent, Spearfish High School, Delegate
    • Caleb Weiland, Beresford High School, Alternate
    • Mary Schlichte, St. Thomas More High School, Alternate


    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