HMHS Senior Lily Cheatham Heads to US Senate

Lili Ali, Editor

HMHS senior Lily Cheatham has recently been selected to be a part of the United States Senate Youth Program. The Senate Youth Program selects student leaders to participate in public service, leadership, and education experience. Students will hear from speakers from the three branches of government, including the president of the United States, and have an opportunity to communicate with US senators as well as debate with other Senate Youth members. Additionally, each delegate is rewarded a $10,000 scholarship in the name of the United States Senate for undergraduate studies. This is a tremendous honor, as only two students from the state of New Jersey are selected annually. I conducted an interview with Lily to receive information about the program, and to document her thoughts and feelings about the entire process. Congratulations on your achievement, Lily. We wish you good luck!


LA: What was the selection process for this particular program?

LC: “I was chosen through our school to be selected as the HMHS representative to the New Jersey USSYP applicant pool in October, one student from each school is selected. Shortly after, I submitted an application to the state and received news of my selection in December along with the one other girl that was chosen from NJ.”


LA: Describe your thoughts/feelings upon learning about your acceptance to this program.

LC: “I was honestly shocked because I didn’t think I submitted my application in time (a lot of the due dates in the various emails and websites about the program were mixed up). Though that shock was immediately clouded over with excitement since this is such an incredible opportunity.”


LA: When does this program begin? What are you most looking forward to about this opportunity?

LC: “I believe it is March 3-9, but I have already begun prep for the week as I have a meeting with Senator Menendez next week, and Senator Booker the following week! I am most excited to debate about the currently contentious topics in the senate.”


LA: Will this program look any different in regards to the pandemic?

LC: “The most major drawback is that the Washington Week is virtual this year, it is usually in-person.”


LA: Describe what the 60th annual USSYP Washington Week in March will entail as well as your role in it.

LC: “According to the USSYP website, “Washington Week events include meeting with the Senate Co-Chairs, other Senate leaders and the Senate parliamentarian and historian; a justice of the Supreme Court, the president, officials from the Departments of State and Defense and other executive agencies, a foreign ambassador to the U.S. and senior members of the media.” My role in it is to meet and listen to lectures from these national leaders as well as partake in debates with the other Senate Youth Members.”


LA: What do you hope to learn from this program/ how will you use the information presented to better yourself and others?

LC: “I hope to become a better-informed US citizen by learning about the current issues being discussed in the federal government while simultaneously developing a stance and a solution to those issues that I may use to create change in the future.”


LA: What do you hope to learn from NJ senators, Booker and Menendez, in particular?

LC: “I hope to hear that Senator Booker will run for president again in 2024 (I am an avid supporter of his campaign)  and I am super excited to hear about the new additions he will be making to his policy agenda moving into 2024. I am also interested in what the two senators are currently advocating for in congress that will improve the state of living for people in New Jersey.”


LA: Any additional thoughts/feelings, advice, or any comments in general!

LC: “I don’t think there is much to add, I am so grateful for this opportunity, thank you so much for the interview!”