PC Electric, NRG select 2018 Youth Tour delegates

Winners of the annual Washington Youth Tour Essay Contest sponsored by PC Electric and Louisiana Generating, LLC a subsidiary of NRG Energy, Inc., were announced at a banquet held at the co-op's office in New Roads on February 20.

Representing PC Electric and winning the all-expense-paid trip to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) Youth Tour Conference in Washington are: Emily Nichols of Port Allen High School, West Baton Rouge Parish; Olivia Beauvais, Catholic High of Point Coupee, Pointe Coupee Parish; Madison Nicolosi of St. John High School, Iberville Parish.

Louisiana Generating President Jennifer Vosburg announced three delegates to represent NRG/Louisiana Generating on the Youth Tour. Those recipients were Jenna Smith of Catholic High of Pointe Coupee, and Shelby Cheramie and Clayton Leblanc of St. John High School.

The other finalists which will serve as alternates if any of the six winners are unable to take part in the Youth Tour trip this summer are Terrell Smith of Port Allen High School and Megan Martinez of Trinity Academy.

The contest finalists were selected from approximately 150 high school juniors from the tri-parish area served by PC Electric who were eligible to participate in a writing contest.

The students submitted essays in the form of 500-word letters to any elected official on a topic of their own choosing.

PC Electric board members Pete Rumfola Jr., and Chris Settoon were on hand to hear the students' oral presentations, and the three contest judges represented various industries and backgrounds from outside the tri-parish area.

The students were judged on their written essays (50 percent), interviews (30 percent) and oral presentations (20 percent).

PC Electric General Manager Myron Lambert served as emcee during the evening banquet, while Vosburg and Youth Tour Director Joni Kitchen also made brief presentations.

The winning students will take their Youth Tour trip to Washington, D.C., on the week of June 9-15.

While in Washington, D.C., the students will join approximately 1,800 other students from across the country to learn more about electric cooperatives, visit the various historic sites and monuments, attend social functions with their fellow delegates from across the country and receive leadership training.

"This is really the trip of a lifetime," Lambert said. "Each of these students who made it this far in the essay contest are very deserving and have worked hard to achieve all that they've achieved. We're proud of all of them.

PC Electric Youth Tour coordinator Jill Copeland is a past chaperone on the Youth Tour and told the students that they would enjoy the trip and take pride representing their state. "You're going to have the opportunity to meet other students from all over the country. Everybody is outgoing and friendly and you're sure to make friends that you'll remember the rest of your life," she said.

Copeland said her favorite parts of the Youth Tour were the trip to Arlington Cemetery and the Lincoln Memorial. She showed the students a video from last year's Youth Tour trip.

"Arlington was something that just took my breath away. There so may grave sites - rows and rows and rows - and it's a stark reminder of the sacrifices that have been made for our freedom," she said. "And the Lincoln Memorial was a reminder of his legacy and also a reminder of the Civil War period and what can happen if we let our differences continue to divide us.

The essay presentations covered a wide range of topics, including coastal erosion, Planned Parenthood, harmful language, vaccination and public health policies, human trafficking, renewable power sources, police brutality and post-traumatic stress disorder.

"As usual, we had a lot of thoughtful and well-articulated presentations," Copeland said. "It's always a difficult process to select our delegates. We really appreciate the students participating in the Youth Tour program, especially their teachers, parents and guardians."

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