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United States Senate Youth Program Delegate

ChiClaire Chi can look forward to an unforgettable Washington D.C. trip next year.


That’s because the State High junior, currently a Pennsylvania State Board of Education student representative helping address education issues, recently was chosen as one of two Pennsylvania delegates to the prestigious United States Senate Youth Program.


As such, she will be among the 104 delegates attending the USSYP’s Washington Week program March 4-11 that includes conversing with senators, a Supreme Court justice and the President. Since 1962, the program annually has accepted two of the highest-achieving students from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense education system overseas through a competitive selection process held by state departments of education.


Participants, who receive $10,000 scholarships, meet with national and international leaders as part of the program’s mission “to help instill within each class of student delegates a more profound knowledge of the American political process and a lifelong commitment to public service.” The program aims to further students’ understanding of the three federal government branches and their relationships to each other, the responsibilities of elected and appointed officials, and the importance of democratic decision for the nation as well as the world. 


“As a Pennsylvania delegate, I am very excited to meet with President Biden at the White House, tour the U.S. Supreme Court with a Supreme Court justice, and talk with Senator (Bob) Casey about public service and leadership,” Chi said. “I also look forward to meeting the other state delegates, who are the nation’s best student leaders and serve as an inspiration for young changemakers everywhere.” 


In addition to being on the state education board, Chi is the co-director of the Students for Education in Pennsylvania organization, which connects student representatives from over 50 school districts across Pennsylvania to education policymakers. She also founded a nonprofit organization, Dancing Against Hunger, to promote accessibility to the performing arts and alleviate food insecurity in schools. She serves on the State High Leadership Council, captains the Public Forum Debate Team, and is a TedxPSU 2023 speaker. As the recipient of the Junior Anthropologist Award of the American Anthropological Association, she intends to study anthropology and public policy specializing in education and nonprofit leadership. 


‘In my continued work with Claire, I have found her to be an open-minded, responsible, and intelligent student who enjoys challenges and advocating for the rights of all students. She exemplifies everything positive at our school,” State High Principal Laura Tobias said. 


“As a public speaker and advocate, Claire has learned to listen to more broadly represented populations as a prerequisite to resolution. Her role at the most recent July State Board Meeting has urged her to consider changes to the current academic standards of health education, where important topics, including the opioid crisis, teenage vaping, and critical decision-making, are not reflected in the status quo. Claire Chi must be at the forefront of public policy and education reform, which will positively impact our real world.” 


By Chris Rosenblum

Photo by Nabil K. Mark