With chance to shake President’s hand, Christensen refuses


Alex Paskill

Senior Marin Christensen.

Marin Christensen was selected for the United States Senate Youth Program earlier this year.  

Finalists spend a week in Washington, seeing first hand the federal government in action. They hear major policy addresses by senators, cabinet members, officials from the Departments of State and Defense, and even participate in a meeting with a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

They also are awarded a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate studies and get to meet the President at the White House.

The process starts out with a nomination by the school, in this case by Principal Peyton Chapman. After the applicant is chosen, he or she then fills out an application and writes multiple essays. Marin turned these into the Oregon Board of Education. A final 10 Oregon students were chosen and invited to the Salem to be interviewed.
“From there, a final four are selected as semi-finalists and are reviewed again and a final two are selected from that to represent the state in Washington,” says Christensen.

Washington Week takes place in Washington, D.C. The finalists get to go to the White House and meet many high profile individuals.

Marin got to be in the Supreme Court and talk to Chief Justice Roberts and be in the room where President Barack Obama announced the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Christensen describes the experience as a “surreal week,” except for one detail.

The finalists of The United States Senate Youth Program get to meet the President of the United States. Something that usually is an honor actually ended up being the most negative aspect of the experience for Christiansen, who does not support President Trump..

I refused to shake his hand and hid my hands in my dress pockets from him and Pence,” says Christensen.

To see Trump there just took away from the class and respect that office deserves. He talked to us briefly before he [left],” says Christensen.

Despite her experience with the president, Christensen “highly recommend[s the program] to anyone who wants to be a future leader.” Next year, Christensen will be attending George Washington University, nearby in Washington, D.C.