High school students from the U.S. Senate Youth Program discussed their participation in a week-long government and leadership education program. Topics included partisanship in Washington, definitions of political parties and their positions, and the rigorous selection process to become a delegate in the program. The 104 students were selected from 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity. They met and asked questions of President Obama, Chief Justice Roberts, Defense Secretary Panetta, Senator Susan Collins, and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, and others.
The Senate Youth Program was created in 1962, has had over 5,000 participants, and is privately funded by the Hearst Foundations. Participants generally rank academically in the top one percent of their states. In addition, they must show outstanding leadership abilities and a strong commitment to public service. Delegates receive a one-time $5,000 undergraduate college scholarship.