For the past 60 years, the United States has hosted the United States Senate Youth Program. This program selects two high school juniors or seniors from each state, Washington D.C., and two living abroad, to participate in a week of learning about the government.

This year, one of North Dakota’s delegates was Emma Kratcha from Hankinson. Kratcha is a senior at Hankinson High School and has been active in student council, science fairs, drama and music, among other things.

Nominations for this delegate position took quite a bit of work. In order to be considered for it, the student had to be part of some school leadership program. With Kratcha in the student council, she had that covered.

Next, the student needed to complete an essay answering the question, “What issues have the nation’s youth brought to greater public attention in the last five years? How have these issues been received by politicians, presidential candidates, and the news media?”

This was not the first time Kratcha had tried to get into the program. Last year she applied as a junior and got the position of second alternate, in case somebody dropped out.

After writing the essay and detailing her history of community involvement, Kratcha received approval from her principal and sent the application in.

The application was submitted in October and soon after, Kratcha found out she had advanced to the interview stage. The interviews took place in November and saw Kratcha reiterate her plans for the future, and allowed her to share her knowledge of the government system.

“I really enjoyed the interview since it turned into more of a conversation as it progressed,” Kratcha said.

Then one day in early December as Kratcha was walking out of choir practice she noticed she had a voicemail, she had been selected to participate in the program, this time not as an alternate.

“I listened to the voicemail and was all smiles when I heard that I was selected as a delegate,” Kratcha said.

Being selected for the position means that for a week in March, Kratcha will be able to meet with folks involved in the government, including senators, guest speakers, and members of the judiciary.

In the past, this event came with a round-trip week in Washington, however with COVID-19, the event has been moved to a virtual setup. While they will still meet with the same people as they would if it were in-person, they will do so now from the comfort of their own homes.

“I am beyond excited for Washington Week in March! I am still a little in shock that I will be able to meet many leaders within our government – it’s such an amazing opportunity,” Kratcha said.

The nomination also provides a $10,000 scholarship for college. It was through the scholarship that Kratcha found out about the program.

Going forward, Kratcha is undecided on where she would like to go for college, however she is looking to go into environmental science and cognitive science or neuroscience with minors in public policy and music.

Load comments