News Release

December 11, 2019


Student photos are available using the following link.

The Nebraska Department of Education is pleased to announce the names of two students selected as delegates to the 58th annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) held in Washington, D.C. March 7-14. Alison Clegg of Millard West High School in Millard and Malcolm Durfee O’Brien of Omaha Central High School in Omaha were chosen from across the state to be part of the group of 104 student delegates who will attend the program’s Washington Week.

The USSYP was created by Senate Resolution 324 in 1962 and has been sponsored by the Senate and fully funded by The Hearst Foundations since inception. The program is designed 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.

The overall mission of the program is to help grow knowledge of the American political process and a lifelong commitment to public service. In addition to the program week, The Hearst Foundations provide each student with a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship.

Alison Clegg leads by example both in school and throughout her community.  Clegg was elected as a National Honor Society Officer by her fellow students and emphasizes volunteering in the community through the organization. Clegg enjoys passing on her knowledge to others and demonstrates that through tutoring.  Clegg works with students of all ages from kindergarten to high school. She also takes a lead at her church where she frequently plays the piano and sings.

Malcolm Durfee O’Brien is drawn to leadership, taking the lead in all of his activities and clubs in school.  Durfee O’Brien started to lead early in his sophomore year by becoming president of his school’s Student Democrats. He also worked to become the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper and has a leadership role on the mock-trial team. He was also elected as the Treasurer of his class where he helps manage school funds. Durfee O’Brien has also participated in the Quiz Bowl and considers keeping up on politics and current events to be his biggest hobby.

Chosen as alternates to the 2020 program were Matthew Lemar of Creighton Prep High School in Omaha and Lauren Collins of Chadron High School in Chadron.

The chief educational officer in each state selects the delegates after nomination by teachers and principals. This year’s delegates were designated by Dr. Matthew L. Blomstedt, Commissioner of Education.

While in Washington D.C. the student delegates attend meetings and briefings with senators, members of the House of Representatives, Congressional staff, the president, a justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies, an ambassador to the United States, and senior members of the national media. The students will also tour many of the national monuments and several museums on their trip.

David Jespersen
Public Information Officer, Nebraska Department of Education