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.

Senate Youth Program

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 weeklong Washington stay, including transportation, hotel accommodations and meals. In addition, each delegate is awarded a $5,000 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
  • 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

A student attending a school located in a state other than the state of legal residence of his or her parents or guardians is not eligible.

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 10, 2014.

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 specifiedthat the program be "supported by private funds with no expenseto the federal government". As a result, The William Randolph Hearst Foundation assumed financial support of the program and continues itssponsorship 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

Associate Director, Innovative Projects

(615) 253-4344


National Youth Science Camp Competition

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 www.nysc.org.


The NYSC will be held at a facility located in the Monongahela National Forest near Bartow in the eastern mountains of West Virginia.


Delegates MUST be able to attend the entire NYSC program. Delegates arrive in Charleston, West Virginia, on Friday, June 27, 2014, and depart on Sunday, July 20, 2014.


The National Youth Science Camp is offered at no cost to its participants so that selected delegates may attend regardless of their financial status. All educational and recreational programming, as well as meals, lodging, and round-trip air passage on scheduled airlines are provided free of charge to the delegates.

Eligible Applicants

Applicants must...

  • Be candidates for high school graduation between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014;
  • Demonstrate superior academic proficiency, including recognition in mathematics and/or the sciences;
  • Demonstrate an application of leadership abilities and social maturity through involvement in school and community activities;
  • Demonstrate skills and achievements outside the realm of science and outside the realm of academic pursuits; and
  • Demonstrate a curiosity and an eagerness to explore many and varied topics.

Apply for NYSC

Tennessee Academic Decathlon

The theme for the 2014-2015 Tennessee Academic Decathlon, “New Alternatives in Energy:  Ingenuity and Innovation”.  The Tennessee Academic Decathlon is a preliminary event for the United States Academic Decathlon that was begun in 1986. Students sharpen their study skills and explore music, art, science, literature, social science, math, and economics while they learn how all these disciplines are connected through a series of ten different events.   For a description of the national events and curricula materials for both middle school and high school students please visit the United Academic Decathlon website.

The Academic Decathlon is an opportunity for students of varying academic backgrounds. Interested high schools form teams composed of nine students.  Each team must consist of three Honor Students “A” (3.750-4.00 GPA), three Scholastic Students “B” (3.00-3.74 GPA) and three Varsity Students “C or below” (0.00-2.99 GPA).

Tennessee Regional events will be held in January with the Tennessee state competition and awards banquet being held Feb. 20, 2015 and Feb. 21, 2015.  For information about team participation and events please contact Charlotte Woehler at Charlotte.Woehler@tn.gov.

Last Update: March 23, 2015