Texas High School Senior and Student Body President, Jenna Williamson, has been selected by the Texas Education Agency Commissioner of Education to serve as one of two student delegates from Texas at the 58th annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) which will be held in Washington, D.C. from March 7-14, 2020. This is the fourth student from Texas High School and the most from any high school in Texas to be selected for this honor.
Established in 1962 by U.S. Senate Resolution, the program is a unique educational experience for outstanding high school students interested in pursuing careers in public service. Student delegates spend a week in Washington experiencing their national government in action. They will hear major policy addresses by senators, cabinet members, officials from the Departments of State and Defense and directors of other federal agencies, as well as participate in meetings with the president and a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
“When I received the email that I was selected as one of the student youth delegates, I screamed because I felt sure I would not be selected,” said Williamson. “My brother, Jay Williamson, had been selected as a Texas delegate two years ago and I was positive they would not select me because there has never been a brother and sister chosen. I have since found out that Jay and I are the first siblings in Texas ever chosen for the Senate Youth Program.”
“As THS Student Body President, I have enjoyed working with Principal Carla Dupree and Sponsor Susan Waldrep on learning how to understand and operate within the confines of student government. Had I not been involved with Student Council and Leadership at Texas High, I would not have found how much I love this program. I have each one of them, along with the THS Student Council and the Texas Association of Student Councils, for igniting the spark in me and I am extremely grateful for the opportunities that have been given to me.”
Williamson is the daughter of Lisa & George Tullis and Charlie & Allison Williamson. Following graduation in May 2020, she will attend the University of Texas – Austin majoring in Communications and Public Policy.
Honorary Co-Chairs for the 2020 United States Senate Youth Program are Vice President Michael R. Pence, Senator Mitch McConnell, and Senator Charles E. Schumer.
The 104 student delegates also receive a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship to the college or university of their choice with encouragement to continue coursework in history and political science. The Hearst Foundation has fully funded the USSYP since its inception, including transportation, accommodations, meals, and individual college scholarships – no government funds are ever utilized.
The USSP alumni now number over 5,500. Among the many distinguished alumni of the program are Senator Susan Collins, the first delegate to become a U.S. Senator; Senator Cory Gardner, the second delegate to be elected to the U.S. Senate and the first delegate to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives; former Chief Judge Robert Henry, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit; New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the first delegate to be elected governor; former Ambassador to West Germany Richard Burt and former Presidential Advisors Thomas “Mack” McLarty and Karl Rove. Additional notables include former Lt. Governor of Idaho David LeRoy, former President of the Progressive Policy Institute Robert Shapiro, military officers, members of state legislatures, Foreign Service officers, top congressional staff, healthcare providers and university educators.