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United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP)

Each year this extremely competitive merit-based program brings 104 of the most outstanding high school students - two from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity - to Washington, D.C. for an intensive week-long study of the federal government and the people who lead it. The overall mission of the program is to help instill within each class of USSYP student delegates more profound knowledge of the American political process and a lifelong commitment to public service. In addition to the program week, the foundation grants each of the 104 student delegates a $5,000 college scholarship with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs.

In New Hampshire each high school principal may nominate one eligible student. Selection is based on academic accomplishments, community services, and demonstrated qualities of leadership as elected high school student body officers for the current school year. Whether outspoken or soft spoken, the type of student who thrives during Washington Week is one who is truly interested in government, history, politics and leadership and one who has a demonstrated desire to serve others in a leadership capacity. High academic achievement, high aspirations for college and career and other clear examples of self-motivation and creativity often define Senate Youth delegates. A selection committee reviews the nominations and choose several finalists. All finalists are interviewed in early November by the selection committee. The Committee then selects two primary delegates and a first and second alternate. Alternates will be selected as replacements in the event a primary delegate is for any reason unable to participate in the program's Washington Week.

Specific Qualifications

Any high school junior or senior is eligible for the program provided he or she has not previously been a delegate to the program, and is currently serving in an ELECTED capacity 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;

  • Student representative elected or appointed (appointed by a panel, commission or board) to a district, regional or state-level civic and/or educational organization approved by the state selection administrator.

Each student must be a PERMANENT RESIDENT of the United States and currently enrolled in a public or private secondary school located in the state in which either one of his or her parents or guardians legally resides. A student attending a school that is located in a state other than the state of legal residence of either one of such student's parents or guardians is not eligible.

The 52nd Annual United States Senate Youth Program

Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte announced the names of the two New Hampshire students who have been selected as delegates to the 52nd annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) that will be held March 8 – 15, 2014 in Washington, D.C. Jesse Austin of Danbury and Leah Stagnone of Litchfield were chosen from across the state to be part of the group of 104 student delegates who will attend the program’s 52nd annual Washington Week.

  • Jesse Austin is a junior at Newfound Regional High School and serves as his class president and Student Council secretary. He participates in track, cross country, and recreational archery. He is a member of the National Honor Society and serves as the clerk of the International Thespian Society. In addition, he is involved in other various school and community organizations, such as the Student/Staff Senate and S.A.L.T. Ministries. He plans to major in political science.
  • Leah Stagnone attends Campbell High School and serves on the Student Council and is also a School Board representative. She has served on the Student Council for four years and Leah embraces the school’s core values of Responsibility, Respect, Courage and Character, and has been successful in bringing change and overcoming resistance with influential leadership. She is a dedicated student who excels academically and athletically. She would like to attend Dartmouth or Georgetown and study international relations.

Chosen as alternates to the 2014 program were Alexander Rose, a resident of Exeter, who attends Exeter High School and Katherine Emley, a resident of Pike, who attends Woodsville High School. he 51st Annual United States Senate Youth Program.

The 51st Annual United States Senate Youth Program

Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte announced the names of the two students who have been selected as delegates to the 51st Annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) that will be held March 9 – 16, 2013 in Washington, D.C. John Parsons of Madbury and Allison Thompson of Nashua were chosen from across the state to be part of the group of 104 student delegates who will attend the program’s 51st annual Washington Week.

  • John Parsons attends Oyster River High School, where he serves as the student representative to the School Board. He was also elected vice president of the Class of 2013. His interests range from technology to politics. An avid golfer, John aspires to hold public office one day, giving voice to the people he represents as he currently does in high school. In the near future, John plans to major in computer science with a minor in political science or business.
  • Allison Thompson attends Nashua High School South where she has been a class officer for all four years. She was also the student representative on the School Futures Committee studying scheduling, graduation, and community service requirements. While balancing her extracurricular and athletic expectations she helped guide the committee. She is a highly respected member of the student body, highly regarded by the faculty and administration, and strives to be an outstanding citizen. Allison will be attending Wellesley College in the fall of 2013.

The 50th Annual United States Senate Youth Program

  • Ashley Chen is a senior at Nashua High School South. She is involved in activities in and around the school community. As a highly-involved Senator since her freshman year, she has effectively risen to the leadership role of President. In addition, she currently serves as the Vice President of the Science Honor Society as well at captaining the Tennis Team. Ashley has also served in a leadership capacity for the Finance Club and National Honor Society. She has been accepted to Harvard where she plans to major in either Economics or Computer Science.
  • Matthew Sanborn is a senior at Plymouth Regional High School. He has actively served as President of his class for two years. He has also been an active member of Student Government for three years, President of the National Honor Society, and a student representative for the School Board. Matt is captain of the Cross Country and Track and Field Teams. He hopes to attend the US Naval Academy in Maryland majoring in political science and international studies.

The 49th Annual United States Senate Youth Program

  • Patrick Church attends White Mountains Regional High School where he serves as the New Hampshire Youth and Government youth governor and student representative to the School Board. Patrick spent many hours preparing for being elected by his peers to the office of New Hampshire youth governor, the highest possible position in the state’s youth government structure. Patrick Church exhibits leadership qualities, is respected and relates exceptionally amongst his classmates. He reflects a positive attitude about life and learning and is legitimately interested in forming positive relationships with everyone he encounters. Patrick has taken entirely advanced standing or AP classes.
  • Megan MacInnes attends ConVal High School where she serves as National Honor Society president. She is always willing to be an advocate for her beliefs and has appeared before the School Board twice on issues she felt strongly about. Her leadership, scholarship, and public service involvement is exemplary. Megan is very interested in politics and was fascinated with the NH primary. She plans to attend a four-year college and major in Political Science. Megan has completed two AP courses with a perfect 5 on her US History exam.

The 48th Annual United States Senate Youth Program

  • Allison is a senior at Prospect Mountain High School. She has followed a rigorous program consisting of several AP/Honors classes. She is president of the National Honor Society chapter as well as serving as the NH Legislative Youth Council Rep. She has received numerous athletic and academic awards. Her leadership skills and motivational qualities are always evident. She plans to major in either international affairs or politics and government with a minor in Russian language. She then plans to pursue a law degree in international law. Allison will be attending Wheaton College in MA.
  • Nicholas is a senior at Plymouth Regional High School. He has achieved much success while maintaining a demanding college preparatory schedule. He has actively served as a class officer for three years and is currently President of the Senior Class as well as the student representative for the School Board. He is an active leader and has the ability to motivate people. He plans to attend a college or university with a strong political science and pre-law program and then attend law school focusing on business and constitutional law. Nicholas will be attending St. Anselm College.

The 47th Annual United States Senate Youth Program

  • Melia Robinson achieves both academically and in the area of co-curricular activities. She has a 3.7 GPA and her name is ever present on the High Honor Roll. Melia has been selected to the Principal's All Academic Team, serves as an officer on the National Honor Society, and is the President of the Student Council. She has a passion for politics demonstrated by serving four years in student government and by canvassing door-to-door as a student intern for this year's United States presidential campaign. She enjoys video-journalism and is the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper. She also volunteers to various youth groups as well as those organizations serving the elderly. Melia has a wonderful personality and a caring, giving nature. She is ambitious, humble, and focused. Melia is an outstanding student and a high quality person. She would like to attend a prestigious university, New York, Fordham, Syracuse, or St. Johns, with a Major in Journalism and a Minor in Political Science. Her hope is to become a political correspondent in a print journalism media to promote youth involvement in politics and education about current issues.
  • Meagan Shamberger is an outstanding student. She has a 3.8 GPA and is consistently on the honor role. She is motivated to excel in classes with high academic rigor. She has a thirst for knowledge and challenges herself to learn. Meagan is highly involved in extra-curricular and community activities. She has been the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) President for the past three years. She is also a member of the Adolescent Drug and Alcohol Prevention Tools (ADAPT) after school program. They survey students and use these results to teach them about tobacco, drug, and alcohol awareness. Meagan is well respected, dependable, organized, and provides enthusiasm and excitement to a group. Her outgoing personality and outstanding leadership qualities make her a valuable member of any team or organization. Meagan hopes to attend Columbia University in the fall. She plans to major in English with a minor in Political Science and then attend graduate school to earn a Master's degree in journalism and communications with the hope of becoming a broadcast journalist.

The 46th Annual United States Senate Youth Program

  • Alexandra McKinney, Londonderry High School, is a scholar, an athlete, a school leader and, most importantly, an outstanding young lady. She is currently the Student Council President as well as the Varsity Tennis Team Captain. Alexandra has participated in many school-related service activities as well as community services. When she was in third grade she founded and co-directed a youth service group that organized summer carnivals for five years to raise funds for special causes. Ms. McKinney plans to pursue higher education at a university with a strong liberal arts program.
  • Emily Rapp, Conval Regional High School, is focused, articulate, dedicated and ambitious - in the very best sense of the word. She has served as Vice President of her class and as Student Council Secretary for each of the past three years. Emily has participated in many school-related service activities as well as community services. She was Governor of Girls State and Senator of Girls Nation. She attended a week-long summer session this year where she said her interest in politics spiked. Ms. Rapp is planning to pursue a double major in philosophy and biology in preparation for a career in biomedical ethics, preferably working in a legal or legislative role.
Lori Temple
Public Information Officer
NH Department of Education
(603) 271-6646

More information about the United States Senate Youth Program can be found at

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New Hampshire Department of Education
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