Washington Youth Your winners

Winners of the Mohave Electric Cooperative-sponsored 2019 Washington Youth Tour competition are, from left, Caleb Fearing, Jacob Thompson, Bailey Edgington (alternate), and Anna Kuzminsky from Mohave High School, Madina Roshan, Mohave Accelerated Learning Center, and Kaileb Bayliss and Kyle Colby, from Mohave High School.

BULLHEAD CITY — Mohave Electric Cooperative’s Washington Youth Tour competition brings both joy and sorrow, utility officials said. 

The joy comes from naming the winners and the sorrow from telling other hopefuls they won’t be making the trip to the nation’s capital.

“You wish all the students could go,” said Heath Barker, chief information officer at Mohave Electric Cooperative. “They all put in the time and effort, but we can only send six.”

Area students competed for the opportunity to represent MEC during next June’s National Rural Electric Cooperative’s 56th Annual Youth Tour, a weeklong all-expenses-paid educational trip to Washington D.C.

This year’s winners are Anna Kuzminsky, Kyle Colby, Kaileb Bayliss, Jacob Thompson, and Caleb Fearing from Mohave High School and Madina Roshan from Mohave Accelerated Schools.

Bailey Edgington, of MHS, was selected as an alternate and will make the trip if any of the six is unable to go.

Joining more than 1,500 students representing electric cooperatives from across the U.S., the six students will visit historic sites, spend time at the Smithsonian museums, tour memorials, hear about the importance of the cooperative model, and meet their member of Congress.

Nearly 50,000 students from rural areas and small towns across the country have participated in the program since then senator and future president Lyndon B. Johnson inspired the tour in 1957 when he addressed the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, declaring, “If one thing comes out of this meeting, it will be sending youngsters to the national capital where they can actually see what the flag stands for and represents.”

“This is a unique opportunity for juniors in our rural communities to experience history from a hands-on perspective,” Barker said. “These kids will return with a deeper understanding of U.S. and world history.”

The Mohave Electric-sponsored competition is open to area high school juniors whose parents or guardians are MEC members. An adult chaperone accompanies the students on the all-expenses-paid educational tour, excluding such items as souvenirs.  

The finalists were selected after three judges independently reviewed and graded a short essay submitted by high school juniors. The 12 best average scores were picked to advance. A five-minute oral presentation on Oct. 25 was the deciding factor.

Four members of the community served as judges for the oral presentation and ranked the students based on specific criteria.

The 2019 competition marks the 27th year MEC has selected area students to participate in the national youth tour. In 2018, MEC raised the number of winners from two to six, dramatically improving the odds of winning for interested students. The tour is funded with assigned capital credits at no cost to the cooperative.

“Mohave Electric is proud to sponsor this competition,” Barker said. “Today’s students will be tomorrow’s leaders and this is a chance for six youths to take that first step.”

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