Mission and Philosophy

Challenging the Leaders of Tomorrow

Presidential Classroom provides today's outstanding high school students from the United States and abroad with rigorous educational experiences in Washington, DC that prepares them for roles as leaders in public service and private enterprise. Over four decades, Presidential Classroom has introduced more than 120,000 young men and women to the interaction among government, business, politics, advocacy organizations, and the citizenry that shapes public policy and to the opinion leaders who make it. Our mission is to educate and motivate outstanding students to aspire to leadership by providing the highest quality civic education programs.


In 1968, with the rise of a strong youth voice in American politics, Presidential Classroom was chartered in Washington, D.C. Presidential Classroom followed in the tradition of U.S. Presidents who were interested in education (some were educators themselves), including Woodrow Wilson and Lyndon B. Johnson. President Kennedy, who challenged the young to public service, sponsored two pilot programs during his administration - “Widening Horizons” and the “White House Seminars.” During the Johnson Administration, Vice President Hubert Humphrey led the “Washington Briefings.” As the success of the idea became apparent and more students clamored to learn how their government worked in the nation’s capital, the blueprint for the program was transferred from the White House to a board of directors, comprised of prominent educators and citizens, to become Presidential Classroom.

In recent years, Presidential Classroom, a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) civic organization, has developed new programs to address issues concerning science and technology, business, national security, law and justice, news media and international relations. These programs, along with the flagship Presidential Classroom Scholars Program, now attract thousands of outstanding high school students to Washington annually.

Presidential Classroom gives students a glimpse of democracy at work and promotes the ideals of public service. This not only celebrates our history, but prepares tomorrow’s leaders, which will help strengthen our communities.

Senator Hilary Clinton (D-NY)