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Four Local Students Selected for Youth Leadership Experience
Four local high school students participating in Blue Ridge Electric’s Leadership Track program recently earned the opportunity to spend an all-expense-paid week in Washington, D.C. representing their electric cooperative on the national Washington Youth Tour.
The students joined 1,700 other students from across America for the 52st annual Electric Cooperative Youth Tour — a leadership, travel and educational opportunity for young men and women. During the tour, students learned about American government, U.S. history and the cooperative business model. Every member of North Carolina’s congressional delegation took time to meet with the youth delegates from their districts.
Youth Tour representatives from Blue Ridge Electric were:
• Watauga County: Emma Balbier, Watauga High School, daughter of Richard and Laura Balbier of Banner Elk;
• Ashe County: Gracie Greene, Ashe County High School, daughter of Roger and Kathy Greene of Fleetwood, and Monica Francisco, Ashe County High School, daughter of Daniel Zuniga-Giverara and Liliana Francisco-Perez of West Jefferson;
• Alleghany County: Garrett Wishon, Alleghany High School, son of Johnny and Linda Wishon of Sparta.
Each student won a $500 Blue Ridge Electric scholarship for an essay and speech prior to presenting their speeches in Raleigh at an assembly of Youth Tour students representing North Carolina on the national Youth Leadership Council.
Gracie Greene, of Blue Ridge Electric, was elected as the representative to the national Youth Leadership Council and won a $2,000 scholarship. Greene will represent North Carolina at a number of national electric cooperative events during the coming year, including a trip to San Diego, CA. in the spring of 2017.
According to Blue Ridge Electric Director of Community Relations Grey Scheer, the trip to Washington is just the beginning of the opportunities available to the students. Blue Ridge Electric strives to help their Youth Tour students gain leadership experience during their senior year of high school by having them serve as the youth representative for the cooperative’s Member Advisory Committee (MAC) in their respective districts. Blue Ridge Electric has a Member Advisory Committee in each of its four districts that meets every other month to hear cooperative updates and share input.
Garrett Wishon and Monica Francisco were selected among the Leadership Track students to also participate in the Broyhill Leadership Conference at Queens University and Wingate University this summer.
Blue Ridge Electric has been sponsoring students on the Washington Youth Tour for over 20 years. This year, however, was the first year that students’ participation and success in the Leadership Track program determined selection of the participants.
The Blue Ridge Electric Leadership Track is a free program for high school students that provides leadership and learning opportunities throughout their high school career with free leadership camps, resume workshops, college-bound workshops and culminates with college scholarship opportunities.
More information including an application can be found at www.BlueRidgeEMC.com.
Blue Ridge Electric is a member-owned electric cooperative utility serving some 74,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes, Avery and Alexander counties. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.