Following in a string of successful Van Alstyne High School students, junior Elias Mosby added on to his already impressive resume with a recent participation in the summer program High School Diplomats (HSD).

HSD is a cultural exchange program between Japan and the United States that is held each summer at Princeton University. Described as a highly competitive, merit-based program, HSD selects 40 American students and 40 Japanese students to participate together in varied cultural and educational activities over their 10-day program stay.

Mosby explained that each American student was paired up with a Japanese student, who became his or her roommate. He described the object of the program to be to form a bond with the other student in order to teach about your culture while being educated about the culture of your roommate. Mosby was fortunate enough to form a close bond with his roommate, who his still corresponds with bi-weekly.

“The experience was incredible,” said Mosby. “I learned to speak, read and write basic Japanese. I developed new friendships, learned about a new culture and had fun in the process.”

Prior to the program, Mosby spent a month or two practicing Japanese in order to be able to state simple greetings and useful phrases. He admitted there was a steep learning curve with studying a language so different from his maternal tongue, but that he highly enjoyed experiencing Japanese culture.

Mosby first became interested in studying a culture different than his own after he participated in the American Youth Leadership Program (AYLP) in Cypress the previous summer. He initially planned to participate in a program that involved staying in Japan for a year for language and culture immersion, but chose to look into something else after realizing that he needed to be at VAHS to take a calculus course required to enter the United States Naval Academy—something he aspires to do after graduation.

In order to get into the HSD program, Mosby stated that he only had to write an essay. However, his leadership experience largely played a big role in his acceptance. In addition to his past participation in the AYLP, Mosby has been a part of the leadership building programs the Student Conservation Association (SCA) and Camp Rising Sun.

“I am thankful for all of the amazing people that I had the opportunity [to] meet at HSD. They are the leaders of tomorrow. I would strongly encourage any current high school sophomores and juniors to apply to High School Diplomats at Princeton,” said Mosby, highly recommending the program to anyone interested in studying Japanese culture.

The HSD program at Princeton is free for selected sophomore and junior high school students. HSD 2018 is currently receiving nationwide applications for all current juniors and seniors. This year’s program will begin on Wednesday, July 25 and conclude on Sunday, Aug. 5.

The online application is available at The deadline for application submission is Jan. 8, 2018. Applicants selected for interviews will be contacted by mid-February, with interviews taking place between late February and March. Final notification of acceptances will be given by mid-April.

Interested applicants can direct questions to Celine Zapolski, American Director, at