Maxwell Lightfield, a senior at Milbank High School, was one of two South Dakota students and 104 students nationwide to be selected for the 2023 United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) in Washington, D.C. Lightfield will join Senator John Thune (R) and Senator Mike Rounds (R) in representing South Dakota during the 61st Annual USSYP Washington Week to be held March 4- 11.
Dustin Hermansen, a senior at Aberdeen Central High School, was the other delegate chosen from South Dakota. Both students also each receive a $10,000 scholarship with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history, and public affairs.
During the program, the student delegates will attend meetings and briefings with senators, the president, a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies, and others. The week provides an intensive study of the federal government and the people who lead it. According to the program administrators, its overall mission is to help instill profound knowledge of the American political process and a lifelong commitment to public service. All expenses for Washington Week are provided by The Hearst Foundations as stipulated in S.Res.324. No government funds are utilized.
Every year, two delegates and their alternates are selected by the departments of education from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity. Students are first nominated by their teachers and principals. In addition to outstanding leadership abilities and a strong commitment to volunteer work, the
student delegates rank academically in the top one percent of their states among high school juniors and seniors.
Lightfield is active as the student council – student body president, the senior class president, and the vice president of the Student Council-Northeast Region. He served as a page in the South Dakota Senate and attended South Dakota Boys State. He is a member of the National Honor Society and a National Merit Commended Scholar. Lightfield participates in debate, theater, band, choir, track, and basketball and was elected homecoming king.
Lightfield has been a member of South Dakota Teenage Republicans and the Young Elected Legislative Leaders. He has volunteered at Special Olympics, St. Lawrence School community fundraisers, the Bulldog Backpack program, and at his church. He has been active in Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) and has worked as a campaign aide in District One. He plans to pursue a career in economics and public policy.