Two local students have returned from the nation’s capital from a trip sponsored by Broad River Electric Cooperative.
Currin Halle Blackley and Jonathan Anthony Becerra, both students at Spartanburg High School, were selected to experience the Electric Cooperative Washington Youth Tour from June 9 until June 13. They joined other rising seniors from across the country to learn about our government, electric cooperatives, and leadership.
Both students excel in the classroom and are active in their school, churches, and community.
Blackley is a member of the Vikings’ track & field team and the National Beta Club. She also participates in the Spartanburg County Criminal Justice Youth Institute and volunteered with the Homeless Period Project. Blackley attends Cornerstone Baptist Church where she assists on the audio & video production team.
Becerra is a member of the National Beta Club and the National Honors Society. He also writes for the SHS literary magazine. Becerra volunteers at the local soup kitchen and is a member of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church where he is a senior altar server, lector, and choir member.
“We were proud to have these exceptional young leaders represent our cooperative and our community,” said Terry Mallard, President and CEO of Broad River Electric. “The Cooperative Youth Tour is not just a great opportunity for these students. It is also an opportunity for us to invest in the future of our national well-being and ensure that cooperative principles like commitment to community, education, and democracy are carried on.”
The tour is coordinated by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina (ECSC). Broad River Electric is among 20 local cooperatives that select students to represent their service area.
During the tour, delegations of students follow state-planned itineraries, which include time with their state’s Congressional delegation and visits to monuments, memorials, and museums. The students learn about government, the cooperative business model and the importance of rural electrification.
South Carolina Youth Tourists also compete for the $5,000 Robert D. Bennett Community Service Scholarship. The scholarship is presented to a student who completes a community service project that best exemplifies the cooperative principle of “concern for community.”
The Electric Cooperative Youth Tour has brought high school students to Washington, D.C. for a week in June every year since the late 1950s. Over 50,000 students from rural areas and small towns across America have participated in this program.