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Dillingham student in Washington D.C. as U.S. Senate Youth Program delegate

Avery Lill/KDLG

While in Washington D.C., Sadie Sands will attend meetings and briefings with the president, a Supreme Court justice and legislators.

Dillingham high school senior Sadie Sands is in Washington D.C. this week representing Alaska as a U.S. Senate Youth Program delegate.


Two high schoolers from each state are selected as delegates for the competitive program. Alaska’s other delegate is Avram Salzmann from Homer. 


While in D.C., the students are attending meetings and briefings with legislators, the President and a justice of the Supreme Court.


Delegates are selected for their commitment to community service and academic excellence. Sands, who volunteers in a variety of local projects from recycling to youth ballet, said one leadership role in particular sparked her interest in the U.S Senate Youth Program.


“I’ve been class president for a while, and I really think leadership is important,” said Sands. “This program gives me a unique opportunity to experience leadership at a national level. I really wanted to take advantage of it and learn because it really is just an opportunity and a way for me to broaden my horizons.”


In addition to attending the program in Washington D.C., delegates receive a $10,000 college scholarship. Sands said she plans to study computer science after she graduates high school.


“So many of the new technologies are kind of based on computer science, and I’m thinking of doing maybe a minor in biotechnology field, which is really big right now. But I’m also going to college knowing I could easily change my mind when I take new classes and try new things. I’m going in with an open mind, but computer science is my focus right now,” Sands said.


This is the second time Sands has applied to be a U.S. Senate Youth delegate. Last year, she was a runner-up for delegate. She has a word of advice for students who are in the process of applying for awards and scholarships.


“Take advantage of every opportunity even if it’s something that doesn’t seem right away to completely grasp your interest, try it," she said. "And don’t be afraid to try and fail because if you don’t try, you’re never going to get it. And if you do try, there’s always a chance.”


The U.S. Senate Youth Program concludes on March 9.