Day 1 – Arrival


The entrance of the Mayflower Hotel—the venue that frequent guest Harry Truman called the “second best address in Washington.”

Mahishan Gnanaseharan, Editor In Chief

The past 12 hours have been a whirlwind of names, faces, and intense political debates.

I arrived at the 54th Annual United States Senate Youth Program via train this afternoon after months of anticipation. This all-expense paid public service program, created by Senate Resolution 324 and sponsored by the Hearst Foundation, is coveted as one of the best (and most competitive) youth political programs in the country. Every state’s chief education officer selects two high school students to represent their state based on the students’ academic performance and community involvement.

In New Jersey, the Commissioner of Education welcomes one application from every school and then selects two candidates based on a similar process. Mr. Scanlan nominated me in early October as our school’s representative, and after completing an application filled with essays and recommendation letters, I sent my documents to the New Jersey Department of Education, crossed my fingers, and hoped for the best. I received an email with the good news in December, and I’ve anxiously been awaiting this conference ever since.

During the next week, I’ll be representing my school, state, and community at a program with 104 other students from every corner of the country. Our agenda includes meetings with high-level government officials, including President Obama, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Chris Matthews, and Senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez—members from every branch of government and even one from the “fourth estate”. Not to mention that we’ll be staying at the luxurious, historic, and internationally renowned Mayflower Hotel!

Today was the official arrival day, so I spent much of my time rotating between tables and meeting different delegates. I’ll be rooming with a student from Utah (who happens to be the first Utahn I’ve ever met). Everyone’s a bit tired from extensive traveling, so when the conversations weren’t about the states that Trump or Sanders won on Super Saturday, they were about jet-lag and naps. However, I did run into another student who’ll be my classmate at Princeton next year, and found myself in more political conversations/debates than I could keep track of.

We have a ton of activities packed into our schedule in the following few days, but I’ll be sure to keep you updated!