U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) announced the annual statewide selection process for the United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) has begun. Two South Dakota high school juniors or seniors will join 102 other student delegates from around the country to participate in the USSYP’s 54th annual Washington Week, which will take place March 5-12, 2016, in Washington, D.C.

“The USSYP provides high school students who are interested in learning more about government and public service a unique opportunity to deepen their knowledge about the Senate and our federal government as a whole,” said Thune. “Not only will these student delegates get a front-row seat to the inner workings of our government, but they will receive a substantial college scholarship to help further their educational pursuits in the future. I encourage student leaders from throughout the state to consider applying.”

“Participating in the U.S. Senate Youth Program is a wonderful way for students to learn firsthand about the interworking of our federal government,”said Rounds. “I would encourage any South Dakota high school student who has an interest in learning more about policy making and public service to apply to this unique Washington program.”

Each of the 104 student delegates will receive a $5,000 undergraduate college scholarship and an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., for next year’s program. During their trip to Washington, student delegates will visit Capitol Hill, the White House, the Pentagon, and the Supreme Court, among other locations, and will meet with policymakers, which in the past have included members of Congress, the president, and cabinet secretaries.

Students interested in applying for next year’s program can find more information by visiting the South Dakota Department of Education website or by contacting Mark Gageby (mark.gageby@state.sd.us), the South Dakota selection administrator, or their school’s principal.

 The deadline for submitting applications is Friday, September 25, 2016, and the names of the students who have been selected will be formally announced in December.