Alainn Hanson, a senior at Red Wing High School, has been selected as one of two Minnesota delegates to the United States Senate Youth Program, and she will receive a $10,000 scholarship.

“I’m so honored to be accepted into the United State Senate Youth Program to represent Minnesota,” Hanson said. “Beyond the opportunity for learning more about our democratic process and government from our country’s most recognizable officials, I am excited to meet and engage with other delegates from all over the country who are equally as passionate as I am for government, and even through COVID, still be able to connect and discuss issues pertaining to the United States.”

Hanson and Fardouza Farah, from Owatonna High School, will join U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith during the 59th annual Washington Week to be held March 14-17.

The program was founded in 1962 and has been funded throughout by the Hearst Foundation with the goal “to increase young Americans’ understanding of the interrelationships of the three branches of government, learn the caliber and responsibilities of federally elected and appointed officials, and emphasize the vital importance of democratic decision making not only for America but for people around the world.”

Each year, 104 delegates, two from each state and two from D.C. and the Department of Defense, are selected to participate. This year’s program, due to the pandemic, will be the first fully virtual Washington Week and organizers bill it as “a highly interactive and exciting education and leadership forum for the nation’s most outstanding student leaders.”

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During the program week, student delegates will attend online meetings and briefings with senators, the president, a justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies and senior members of the national media.

Minnesota alternates for the 2021 program were Kesarin Mehta, from Mayo High School in Rochester, and Miriam Manna, from Robbinsdale Armstrong High School

Delegates and alternates are selected by the state departments of education nationwide, after nomination by teachers and principals. The chief state school officer for each jurisdiction confirms the final selection.

This year’s Minnesota delegates and alternates were designated by Mary Cathryn Ricker, commissioner of education.