Making moves in D.C.

Senior selected for Senate Youth Program in Washington


Margaret Debenport

Senior and Student Body President Jay Williamson recently received the honor of being selected to attend the United States Senate Youth Program. During this trip, he will visit Washington D.C. and attend sessions discussing politics and the national government. Only two students from the state of Texas were selected.

Story by Eleanor Schroeder, editor in chief

Senior Jay Williamson has been selected to serve as one of two student representatives from Texas at the United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP). This year will be the 56th annual program held in Washington, D.C. from March 3-10, 2018. Williamson was chosen for this honor by the Texas Education Agency Commissioner of Education.

“When I found out I had been accepted it was an interesting story,” Williamson said. “I was in the teacher’s lounge making copies for one of my teachers, and all of the sudden, I got a phone call from a number with the Austin area code. I answered and the lady on the phone asked me if I had checked my email recently, but I had not. She said I had some pretty good news. Then she told me that I was selected for the Senate Youth Program. It was hard not to scream honestly. There were several teachers around me and they all looked a little surprised, first that I got my phone out and second because I started jumping around. It was an amazing experiences to hear someone give the confirmation that I was going to be a part of the program.”

Williamson is also student body president and will be the third student from Texas High to be selected.

“There have already been two really impressive students from Texas High who have gone through this program who paved the way and helped me with the application process, but more importantly encouraged me with the benefits they took from it,” Williamson said. “The told me they made so many great relationships and experiences that they still carry with them as an alumni from the program.”

The USSYP was designed to provide high-achieving students with a deep understanding of our national government. Most participants plan to pursue careers in public service and politics. Two students from each state are selected.

“I cannot wait for it,” Williamson said. “It is going to be an awesome week. What I am really excited for is to meet people from all over the country with different views and have a nucleus built around us.”

The program was created in 1962 and now has over 5,500 alumni, many who are distinguished who now work as senators and state representatives.

“For the majority of the week we hear distinguished speakers, and we also get to visit to most prominent attractions in D.C.,” Williamson said. “Each year is different but the traditional events are meeting the President and hearing from senators, representatives and Supreme Court justices.”

Williamson attributes many of his successes to the teachers and classes he has had at Texas High.

The program is a spectacular occurrence because we get to meet the big pushers and movers of Washington and talk and interact with them

— Jay Williamson

“Being a part of newspaper and student council helped me discover my leadership capabilities and also opened my eyes to different mindsets around the world,” Williamson said. “These activities have exposed me to a variety of different avenues that have helped shape my mind when it comes to the political realm, but also helping me grow as a speaker, writer and leader.

After graduation in May, Williamson plans on attending the University of Texas at Austin majoring in business honors in the McCombs School of Business with a potential double major or minor. When he finishes his undergraduate career, he plans to pursue business.

“The program is a spectacular occurrence because we get to meet the big pushers and movers of Washington and talk and interact with them,” Williamson said. “We have to opportunity to meet people we see on television who are always in the public light. It is inspiring to hear all of the people share their stories of how they got there.”