United States Senate Youth Program

In 1962, the United States Senate voted unanimously to endorse a nationwide youth program to bring high school students to Washington, DC for a brief introduction to the functions of the federal government. The program was created and authorized by Senate Resolution 234 and has been reauthorized ever since. The original resolution specified that the program be "supported by private funds with no expense to the federal government". As a result, The Hearst Foundations assumed financial support of the program and continues its sponsorship today.

The annual United States Senate Youth Program authorizes the selection of 104 student delegates, two from each state, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Office of Dependents Schools. The delegates are immersed in Washington activities throughout their week-long stay. Their stops include visits to the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Supreme Court, and the Pentagon. Delegates hear major addresses by senators, cabinet members, officials of the Department of State and the Department of Defense, as well as other federal departments.

The Hearst Foundations pay all expenses for the week-long Washington stay, including transportation, hotel accommodations, and meals. Each delegate is also awarded a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate studies. Members of all branches of the US military chaperone the students for the week.

United States Senate Youth Program

2019 United States Senate Youth Program Brochure

Texas Application Process

Thank you for your interest in applying for the Texas Delegate to the United States Senate Youth Program. A committee of school principals selects two delegates and two alternates to represent Texas in this program. The commissioner of education provides final approval.

Application Opens annually in August.
Application Closes annually October 15.

To begin the application process, interested students should:

Texas Application Criteria

Applicants must be a high school junior or senior.

The school the applicant attends must be located in the state in which either one of the applicant's parents or guardians legally reside. A student who attends school in a state other than the state of legal residence of his or her parents or guardians is not eligible. Additionally, students must be enrolled in high school and not graduating prior to spring 2019.  Please note: eligible students must be able to confirm their proof of citizenship or legal permanent resident status before participating.  The student applicant must hold a leadership position in any one of the following student government, civic or educational organizations during the entire 2018-2019 academic year:

  • Student Body President, Vice President, Secretary, or Treasurer
  • Class President, Vice president, Secretary or Treasurer
  • Student Council Representative
  • National Honor Society President, Vice-President, Secretary, or Treasurer (includes discipline-based National Honor Societies)
  • 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
  • Organizations such as FFA, FBLA, Key Club and other national service groups are allowable organizations if the student is serving in an ongoing and active high-level elected or appointed leadership position for the entire academic year.

Program Rules

  1. All students must agree to fully block both arrival and departure travel days to participate in Washington Week.
  2. No tours or trips will be permitted by individual delegates while traveling to or from Washington, D.C. Or while in Washington, D.C. This policy includes any other outside activity, conference, scholarship competition or event of another organization which is conducted in Washington, D.C. Or the surrounding area during the time frame of the program.
    All travel provided by The Hearst Foundations is round-trip only and scheduled within the time frames listed below:
    Arrival to D.C.: Saturday, March 2, 2019 between 6:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
    Departure from D.C.: Saturday, March 9, 2019 between 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.
  3. The chief state school officer from each state, the District of Columbia and DoDEA must submit in writing to The Hearst Foundations by DECEMBER 1, 2018 the names of their two delegates and two alternates. Upon confirmation of qualifications, the program requires each delegate to submit a statement of participation including a code of conduct agreement to be signed by students and parents or legal guardians.
  4. Code of Conduct: Delegates will be the guest of the United States Senate and The Hearst Foundations throughout the program and are required to conduct themselves with civility, dignity and professionalism. Debate and discussion are actively encouraged in an environment of tolerance, respect and inclusion. Students selected to the program are serving as at-large public representatives of their states, communities and schools, and attend the program to learn from the speakers and from one another. Students are prohibited from engaging in lobbying, petitioning, protest or overt political activism in the presence of speakers, at any venues visited, or on social media during Washington Week. Students will refrain from other politically charged actions during the program week, including wearing political articles of clothing, pins, buttons or other symbols of political activism.
  5. It will be the responsibility of the parents or legal guardians to transport (at their expense) each delegate to the nearest commercial airport or train station that provides round trip travel to Washington, D.C. from their hometown.
  6. No arrangements for individual religious practices or services other than dietary guidelines will be made during Washington Week. This policy will be strictly observed from the time the student delegates arrive at the Washington area airports, train stations and program site until they return home.
  7. The program does not allow any individual or group athletic activities outside of the hotel facility.
  8. Failure to abide by rules and requirements of the program will result in dismissal from the program and forfeiture of the $10,000 scholarship award. Rules related to the USSYP and scholarship award shall be construed, interpreted and applied by The Hearst Foundations, whose action and determination shall be final and binding.

United States Senate Youth Program Texas Delegates

Kendall Haase USSYP 2018James Williamson USSYP 2018 Ricky Cooks Jr USSYP 2017 Amina Mabizari USSYP 2018
2018 Award Essay  2018 Award Essay2017 Award Essay 
School YearDelegatesAlternates
2017-2018Kendall Haase, Bastrop ISD
James Williamson, Texarkana ISD
Marina Hernandez, Granbury ISD
Kwame Ambaah, Northwest ISD
2016-2017Ricky Cooks Jr, Texarkana ISD
Amina Mabizari, Alief ISD
Rebecca Brady, Bastrop ISD
Aurelio Angel, Teague ISD
2015-2016Cesia Flores, South Texas ISD
Corina Lobo, San Antonio ISD
James Schmidt, Arlington ISD
Maheen Khizar, South Texas ISD
2014-2015Jocelyn Hernandez-Vasquez, North East ISD
Vance Vaughan, Fort Bend ISD
Pauline Lota, Lubbock ISD
Cade Palmer, White Oak ISD
2013-2014Sachin Gupta, Northwest ISD
Sarah Lanford, Spring Branch ISD
Lisa Michaels, Plano ISD
William Wu, Clear Creek ISD
2012-2013Pooja M. Patel, Midland ISD
John Getz, Lubbock-Cooper ISD
Sachin Gupta, Northwest ISD
William Wu, Clear Creek ISD
2011-2012Hayden Greer, Hardin Jefferson ISD
Hailey Stevenson, Leander ISD
Santiago Garcia, Fort Bend ISD
Amy Cindy Chyao, Plano ISD
2010-2011Braydon Jones, Texarkana ISD
Joyce Kim, Allen ISD
Lillian Simon, Humble ISD
Rhonda Hooper, Lindale ISD
2009-2010William Ashford Hayes, Denton ISD
Jenny My Le, Clear Creek ISD
Chandler Nunez, Sinton ISD
Joyce Kim, Allen ISD
2008-2009Colin Parajon, Keller ISD
Hunter Skoog, Pine Tree ISD
Ruben Maldonado, Eagle Pass ISD
Nicole Heath, Coleman ISD