2016-04-01 / Neighbors

Student gets behind-the-scenes look at D.C.

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer


Lexie Jamieson Lexie Jamieson Countless Scarborough students have gone to Washington D.C. over the years, but senior Lexie Jamieson got an insider’s look that few others receive.

Earlier this month Jamieson spent a week touring the nation’s capital and meeting with noted politicians and Washington insiders through the U.S. Senate Youth Program.

Jamieson was chosen along with North Yarmouth Academy senior Julia Blackwell to represent Maine at the weeklong program, which took place March 5 through March 12 and was sponsored by The Hearst Foundations. Jamieson, a member of Scarborough’s Key Club, Civil Rights Club, National Honors Society and wind ensemble, was nominated for the trip by Scarborough High School Principal David Creech and was selected in early November from a field of 10 state finalists based on her application, interview and speech.

Creech said he routinely receives mail about nominating high school students for various programs and strives to ensure the student would be a good fit and would gain something educationally.


As part of the United States Senate Youth Program, Scarborough High School senior Lexie Jamieson (right) and North Yarmouth Academy senior Julia Blackwell were chosen to represent Maine for a week in Washington, D.C. where they met officials, including U.S. Sen. Susan Collins. (Jakub Mosur courtesy photo) As part of the United States Senate Youth Program, Scarborough High School senior Lexie Jamieson (right) and North Yarmouth Academy senior Julia Blackwell were chosen to represent Maine for a week in Washington, D.C. where they met officials, including U.S. Sen. Susan Collins. (Jakub Mosur courtesy photo) “When I read about what kind of candidate they were looking for, Lexie immediately came to mind. Not only is she a strong school leader, she is involved in leadership outside the school,” Creech said of Jamieson, who has served as the New England and Bermuda district governor of Key Club International for the last year.

As part of the trip, Jamieson and the 103 other youth delegates were able to have one on one conversations with several notable individuals, including U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, German Ambassador to the United States Peter Wittig, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and President Barack Obama


Earlier this month 104 student delegates, including Helene Slinker (Missouri), Emily Lu (California), Lexie Jamieson (Maine) and Jared Long (Kansas) were chosen to represent their states at the 54th annual United States Senate Youth Program. The students toured national monuments and met with officials in all facets of federal government. (Jakub Mosur courtesy photo) Earlier this month 104 student delegates, including Helene Slinker (Missouri), Emily Lu (California), Lexie Jamieson (Maine) and Jared Long (Kansas) were chosen to represent their states at the 54th annual United States Senate Youth Program. The students toured national monuments and met with officials in all facets of federal government. (Jakub Mosur courtesy photo) “It was like we were living high class the entire week,” Jamieson said. “We had VIP passes. There were signs that said ‘authorized personnel only’ and we would walk right passed it.”

Obama, she said, spent 40 minutes addressing the group at the White House.

“It was so cool to be there and know he was there to personally address us,” said Jamieson, who attended Obama’s first inauguration in 2009 with her family.

The tour also included stops at many of the area’s monuments, NASA headquarters and a visit of the U.S. Capitol. Jamieson is the third Scarborough student to participate in the U.S. Youth Senate Program in the last six years. Adam Cohen (class of 2012) and David Bibeau (class of 2011) each participated in their graduating year.

“To have that experience and see all the most important buildings in our country was so cool,” she said.

The program, according to its website, “is an intensive week of unparalleled educational activities in the nation’s capital designed to deepen the student delegates’ understanding of the federal government and give them direct access to those who lead it.”

The Hearst Foundations provide each student with a $5,000 college scholarship with the hope the student will pursue coursework in government, history and public affairs. There are no government funds used.

While the trip involved many memorable sights and encounters, Jamieson said her favorite part was engaging with her peers from across the country.

“It was incredible to be around people that are so intelligent, so intellectual, so willing to engage in conversation and so interested in what’s going on in the world,” said Jamieson, who is a member of the soccer and lacrosse teams.

Distinguished alumni of the U.S. Senate Youth Program include Collins, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former U.S. Court of Appeals Justice Robert Henry, Ambassador to West Germany Richard Burt and many military officers, legislators, foreign service officers, congressional staff, health care administrators and university educators.

Although Jamieson, the daughter of Cumberland County Commissioner Neil Jamieson, grew up around politics, she said the trip was still an eye opener.

“Being in D.C. opened my eyes to how you can be involved in politics and not be a politician. I think it would be cool to be a lobbyist on Capitol Hill or work in foreign affairs or be an ambassador,” Jamieson said

In the fall, Jamieson will attend Bates College, where her sister Ainsley is a junior. Jamieson was thinking about studying anthropology and women/gender studies, but is now interested in political science as well.

Her dream, however, is to continue the community service and social justice work she has done throughout high school and through Seeds of Peace and someday start a nonprofit organization that addresses women’s rights and health in developing countries.

“It’s always been something I have been passionate about. I think it would be cool to pursue,” she said.

Jamieson is just about wrapping up her district Key Club position, an experience that has reaffirmed her desire for service.

“It’s been a great year. I’ve learned a lot for sure and have met some incredible people. The idea of giving back and helping others is something that is very strong in my mind and my heart,” Jamieson said.

Creech said Jamieson’s volunteer work is anything but self-serving.

“Lexie is all about what she can to the support others. That is one of her strengths,” he said.

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at news@scarboroughleader.com.

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