FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Questions about your state’s delegates, alternates, or state selection process:
Mr. Preston Shockley at Preston.Shockley@doe.k12.de.us or (302) 735-4180.
For general information about the United States Senate Youth Program:
Program Director Ms. Rayne Guilford (800) 425-3632 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Delaware Students Selected for United States Senate Youth Program
Students to Participate in Online Program and to Receive $10,000 Scholarship
January 11, 2022, Washington, D.C. —The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) announces that high school students Mr. Seamus Oliver and Ms. Saankya Suresh will join Senator Thomas R. Carper and Senator Christopher A. Coons in representing Delaware during the 60th annual USSYP Washington Week, to be held March 6 — 9, 2022. Seamus Oliver of Wilmington and Saankya Suresh of Newark were selected from among the state’s top student leaders to be part of the 104 national student delegation who will each also receive a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate study. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the 2022 program will be held online, through a comprehensive and highly interactive virtual education and leadership forum.
The USSYP was created by Senate Resolution 324 in 1962 and has been sponsored by the Senate and fully funded by The Hearst Foundations since inception. Originally proposed by Senators Kuchel, Mansfield, Dirksen, and Humphrey, the Senate leadership of the day, the impetus for the program as stated in Senate testimony is "to increase young Americans’ understanding of the interrelationships of the three branches of government, learn the caliber and responsibilities of federally elected and appointed officials, and emphasize the vital importance of democratic decision making not only for America but for people around the world. Each year this extremely competitive merit-based program provides the most outstanding high school students - two from each state, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity - with 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 Hearst Foundations provide each student with a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history, and public affairs. All expenses for Washington Week are also provided by The Hearst Foundations; as stipulated in S.Res.324, no government funds are utilized.
Seamus Oliver, a senior at Salesianum School, serves as the vice president of the National Honor Society. Additionally, he has served as the senior patrol leader of Boy Scout Troop 342, where he attained the rank of Eagle Scout. He was accepted into the Governor’s School for Excellence, named a finalist for the Coolidge Scholarship, and elected president pro tempore of the Delaware Boys State Senate. He was then nominated to represent Delaware at Boys Nation where he was appointed chief justice of the Supreme Court and wrote a Constitutional amendment that was ratified by the Senate. Seamus is a captain on the Mock Trial team, announces for live streams of his school’s sports games, and plays piano as part of the music ministry. He is considering going to law school after college and perhaps running for public office someday.
Delegates and alternates are selected by the state departments of education nationwide
and the District of Columbia and Department of Defense Education Activity, after nomination by
teachers and principals. The chief state school officer for each jurisdiction confirms the final
selection. This year’s Delaware delegates and alternates were designated by Susan B. Bunting,
Secretary of Education.
During the program week, the student delegates will attend online meetings and briefings with senators, the president, a justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies, among others.
In addition to outstanding leadership abilities and a strong commitment to volunteer work, the student delegates rank academically in the top one percent of their states among high school juniors and seniors. Now more than 6,000 strong, alumni of the program continue to excel and develop impressive qualities that are often directed toward public service. Among the many distinguished alumni are: Senator Susan Collins, the first alumnus to be elected U.S. senator; Secretary of Transportation and former Mayor of South Bend Indiana, Pete Buttigieg; former Senator Cory Gardner, the second alumnus to be elected U.S. senator and the first to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives; former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the first alumnus to be elected governor; former Chief Judge Robert Henry, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit; former Ambassador to West Germany Richard Burt, former presidential advisors Thomas "Mack" McLarty and Karl Rove. Additional notables include former Lt. Governor of Idaho David Leroy, Provost of Wake Forest University Rogan Kersh, military officers, members of state legislatures, Foreign Service officers, top congressional staff, healthcare providers, and other university educators.
Members of the U. S. Senate Youth Program 2022 annual Senate Advisory Committee are Senator Christopher A. Coons of Delaware, Democratic Co-Chair; Senator Susan M. Collins of Maine, Republican Co-Chair; Advisory Members: Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-NM); Senator Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-OR); Senator Tina Smith (D-MN); Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA); Senator Mike Braun (R-IN); Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV); Senator James M. Inhofe (R-OK); and Senator M. Michael Rounds (R-SD). Each year, the Honorary Co-Chairs of the program are the vice president of the United States and the Senate majority and minority leaders. For more information please visit: www.ussenateyouth.org