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Iowa’s student delegates named to prestigious program

Date: Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Two Iowa students have been selected as delegates to the 61st annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) held from March 4–11 in Washington, D.C.

Esha Bolar, a senior at Johnston High School in Johnston, and Andrew Dong, a junior at West Senior High School in Iowa City, were selected as Iowa’s delegates to the 104-member delegation who will participate in the government and leadership education program during Washington Week. Delegates also receive a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship to the college or university of their choice.

The first alternate is Drake Luong, a junior at Valley High School in West Des Moines, and the second alternate is Adrian Guan, a senior at Ames High School in Ames.

Delegates and alternates chosen for this merit-based, highly competitive program were selected by a committee at the Iowa Department of Education.

The program is a national, nonpartisan initiative designed to provide talented high school students who have outstanding leadership abilities the opportunity to deepen their understanding of America’s political process and also provide a foundation of knowledge and encouragement to consider future careers in public service on the local, state or national level.

Established in 1962 and fully funded by the Hearst Foundations, the mission of the USSYP is to provide selected students with an opportunity to gain an in-depth view of the Senate and federal government as well as a deeper understanding of the interrelationship of the legislative, judicial and executive branches. The annual program admits two student leader delegates from each state, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity.

During Washington Week, delegates will attend briefings and meetings with senators, a Supreme Court justice, the president of the United States, Cabinet secretaries, an ambassador to the United States and other federal agency leaders and senior members of the national media. Events include substantial question-and-answer sessions affording students direct and personal interaction with high-level leadership. Students also tour national monuments, memorials and historic sites.

Meet Esha Bolar

"Esha Bolar"Esha Bolar holds numerous leadership positions. This includes being selected as an American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation Senator, serving as the National Technology Student Association president, being March for Our Lives co-executive director and mock trial captain. She is also the Johnston High School’s National Honor Society president. She’s involved in student council, marching band, show choir and frequently volunteers in her community. Esha has received awards for her involvement in mock trial and speech and debate, among others.





Meet Andrew Dong

"Andrew Dong"Andrew Dong is the founder and president of the American Red Cross Club at his school and is also a National Youth Council Field ambassador for the American Red Cross. He is passionate about youth mental health and participates in many activities that support this passion. He frequently volunteers in his community including being a ride along EMT and frequent helper at his local retirement center.  He received the 2021 President's Volunteer Service Award and has received numerous awards for speech and debate as well as for music and cross country. He was a 2022 AP scholar with distinction.