The United States Senate unanimously passed a resolution in 1962 creating
the UNITED STATES SENATE YOUTH PROGRAM (USSYP), a national nonpartisan initiative to provide an annual opportunity for talented high school students with demonstrated leadership abilities to deepen their understanding of America’s political processes and strengthen their resolve to pursue careers in public service.
The USSYP annually brings the highest-level officials from each branch of government to meet with this outstanding group of young leaders—two high school juniors or seniors from each of the fifty states, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA)— for an intensive week-long education and leadership program. The program is merit-based and highly competitive.
Now in its fifty-ninth year, the program known as Washington Week has been fully funded since inception by THE HEARST FOUNDATIONS as an enduring commitment to preparing young people for civic leadership in our participatory democracy.
Numbering more than 5,800, USSYP alumni serve the country in many ways. USSYP alumni have become leaders in government, law, business, education, journalism, the military, medicine, health care, higher education and many other fields. Alumni serve as elected and appointed officials at all levels of government, including two United States senators, many congressional staff members, a former governor, former senior political advisors to the president of the United States, former ambassadors and former federal judges. The commonality to all of their success is the desire to serve.
Online USSYP Washington Week Online – Sunday, March 14-Thursday, March 18, 2021
Delegates will participate in interactive online policy addresses with senators, cabinet members, officials of the Departments of State and Defense, leaders of other federal agencies and senior members of the national media. Delegates traditionally participate in a meeting with a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and the president of the United States. Speaking events typically include in-depth question and answer sessions.
- High school junior or senior
- Have not previously been a delegate to the program
- Each student must be a legal permanent resident or citizen of the United States at the time of application. Students who are not U.S. citizens must be in possession of their I-551.
- Students must be enrolled for the entire academic year in a public or independent high school located in the state. (Home-educated students must be approved by the West Virginia Department of Education to apply).
- Student must demonstrate leadership by serving in elected or appointed positions:
- Qualifying positions include a high-level leadership position in any one of the following student government, civic or educational organizations:
- Student Body president, vice president, secretary or treasurer
- Class president, vice president, secretary, or treasurer
- Student Council representative
- A 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.
All student leadership positions will be verified and approved by the state selection administrator through the online pre-qualifying questionnaire.
NOTE: Due to COVID-19, if typical election and appointment opportunities for student leadership offices are not being made available due to the pandemic, a student may qualify through previously held positions during the 2019-2020 academic year under rule 1 (a-e), subject to verification and the judgment of the state selection administrator.
Participation or holding an officer position in academic clubs, educational competition programs/conferences, or organizations designed primarily for the student’s personal development 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 or State conference
- Member of a National Honor Society (serving as an elected officer for the organization for the entire school year is acceptable)
- Member or leader of the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or JROTC
- 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.
- Attending the entire Washington Week ONLINE public service and leadership program and the college scholarship are one, inseparable award. Attendance at all online program events is required and monitored.
- All students must agree in writing to fully block the entire formal time frame of the online program to participate in Washington Week ONLINE.
- No outside activities, schoolwork, appointments, meetings or other communications will be permitted to interrupt an individual delegate’s full attendance of the program. This policy includes any other outside activity, class, conference, scholarship competition or event of another organization taking place during the Washington Week ONLINE.
WASHINGTON WEEK ONLINE
Sunday, March 14, 2021
3:00–8:00 PM EST
Monday, March 15–Thursday, March 18, 2021 11:00 AM–7:00 PM EST
- Code of Conduct: Delegates will be the guests of the United States Senate and The Hearst Foundations throughout the online 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 during Washington Week, whether in person or online.
- 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.
The Hearst Foundations believe it is in the public interest to encourage these outstanding young people to continue their educational development. The $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship award is subject to the conditions and requirements specified below. Additional detailed scholarship information will be provided to the delegates after Washington Week.
- The $10,000 college scholarship and attendance at the Washington Week program are one, inseparable award. Delegates must attend all online meetings during Washington Week ONLINE in accordance with program rules and policies in order to receive the financial scholarship.
- The USSYP scholarship is designated for undergraduate college study only at an accredited United States college or university. All students are encouraged to include history, political science or related subjects in their undergraduate program.
- The $10,000 scholarship is designated for the specified student’s education expense and must be used within four years after enrollment. Funds are paid directly to the college or university in the student’s behalf. No funds may be given directly to a student. The scholarship will be issued in either one payment of $10,000 or increments of $5,000 or $2,500.
- Students attending military academies (U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard) may draw the USSYP scholarship per the guidelines to purchase required military uniforms, books, computer equipment and other educational materials.
- A student will automatically forfeit eligibility for a scholarship award by failure to abide by all rules and requirements pertaining to the program and the scholarship or in the event of misconduct as a delegate to the United States Senate Youth Program.
September 2020 – WVDE updates website and electronically sends program brochure, deadlines, and link to pre-qualifying questionnaire to public and non-public high schools.
October 16 – Last day to submit a pre-qualifying questionnaire.
October 19-23 – Student applications are emailed to school counselors.
November 13 – DEADLINE for completed student application (online)
November 16, 17, or 18 – Online Exam; all candidates within a school must take the exam on the same day at the same time being proctored by the school counselor.
December 7-11 – Semifinalists will be notified of advancement to the final round. Those who did not advance will receive an email by December 18th.
January 15, 2021 – The semifinalists will interview with a selection committee via Microsoft TEAMS.
February 5 – Selection confirmations submitted to the Hearst Foundation.
February 15-19 –The two state delegates and alternates will be announced.
March 14-18 – 59th Annual Washington Week Online
Test Administrator Responsibilities
- Have students complete and submit the online pre-qualifying questionnaire by October 16, 2020. School counselors will be informed which of their students have qualified by October 19, 2020. The student application with instructions will be emailed to each counselor.
- Assist students in completing and submitting the entire application for qualified applicants by November 13, 2020. Semi-finalists will be informed by December 11, 2020.
- Email Test Administrator’s Confidentiality Agreement to Dustin Lambert by November 16, 2020.
- Administer the online test on November 16, 17, or 18, 2020 to qualified applicants.
The pre-qualifying questionnaire is the first step in the application process. This questionnaire must be completed by students by October 16, 2020.
Dustin Lambert, USSYP State Administrator
Office of Middle/Secondary Learning