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Opportunities for Students

There are many extracurricular opportunities available to Tennessee students and teachers, such as grants, scholarships, and experiences. On this section of the site, students can apply for these opportunities, some of which are coordinated directly by the department of education.

The Governor's School Program provides immersive summer programs for high-achieving Tennessee students during the summer semester preceding either their 11th or 12th grade year. Selected students participate in challenging and intensive learning experiences in one of eleven disciplines. More information is available on the Governor's School webpage.

The Annual United States Senate Youth Program authorizes the selection of 104 student delegates, two from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Office of Dependents Schools (DoDDS). The delegates are immersed in Washington activities throughout their week-long stay, including visits to the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Supreme Court and the Pentagon. Delegates hear major addresses by senators, cabinet members and officials of the Department of State and the Department of Defense, as well as other federal departments. Additional activities include visits to the various Smithsonian Museums. The William Randolph Hearst Foundation pays all expenses for the week long Washington stay, including transportation, hotel accommodations and meals. In addition, each delegate is awarded a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate studies.

Criteria For Applying In Tennessee

Each student applicant must be a permanent resident of the United States and currently a junior or senior enrolled in a public or private high school. The school must be located in the state in which either one of the applicant's parents or guardians legally reside. The student applicant must currently be serving in an elected capacity in any one of the following student government, civic or educational organizations:

  • Student body: President, Vice President, Secretary, or Treasurer
  • Class President, Vice president, Secretary or Treasurer
  • National Honor Society Officer
  • Student Council: Representative
  • District, regional, or state-level civic or educational organizations: Representative.
  • School clubs (e.g., Chess Club) are not considered civic or educational organizations

Each student must be a legal permanent resident or citizen of the United States at the time of application.  The student must be enrolled for the entire academic year in a public or independent high school located in the state in which at least one of his/her parents or guardians currently resides.

Selection will be based on academic accomplishments, community service, knowledge of current American government issues and procedures and demonstrated qualities of leadership for the current school year. Applications must be submitted no later than October 25, 2019.

Program History

In 1962, the United States Senate voted unanimously to endorse a nationwide youth program that would bring high school students to Washington, DC for a brief introduction to the functions of the federal government -- particularly the Senate.

The program was created and authorized by Senate Resolution 234 and has been reauthorized ever since. The original resolution specified that the program be "supported by private funds with no expense to the federal government". As a result, The William Randolph Hearst Foundation assumed financial support of the program and continues its sponsorship today. The Foundation states that "it is in the public interest to encourage these outstanding young people to continue their educational development".

Related Link

United States Senate Youth Program


Charlotte Woehler/Student Opportunities and Special Courses
Instructional Materials and Resources
(615) 253-4344

The National Youth Science Camp (NYSC) is a residential science education program that honors and challenges two graduating high school science students from each state.  Scientists from across the nation present lectures and hands-on science seminars and linger to interact informally with student delegates.  Delegates are challenged to explore new areas in the biological and physical sciences, art, and music with resident staff members. Opportunities are provided for delegates to present seminars covering their own areas of interest and research. A visit to Washington D.C. permits delegates to visit some of the nation’s premier scientific, governmental, and cultural facilities. The NYSC experience includes overnight excursions into the Monongahela National Forest featuring backpacking, rock-climbing, caving, mountain biking, and kayaking opportunities. Delegates are required to participate in the camp program for its entirety as the fast-paced activities and remote location make travel to and from the NYSC very difficult. More information is available online at