Emily Chandler, a junior at St. James High School and Dhruv Patel, a junior at Aynor High School have been selected as representatives of Horry Electric Cooperative for the 2011 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, scheduled for June 11 through 16.
Chandler and Patel competed against other high school juniors from across Horry County for the chance to take part in the five-day, expense-paid trip. A quiz and personal interview were part of the selection process.
The two Horry Electric representatives will not be alone on their journey to our nation’s capital. They’ll be traveling from South Carolina to Washington with about forty-six other students chosen as representatives of their hometown electric cooperatives in South Carolina, plus several chaperones.
“When the South Carolina delegation arrives in Washington, they’ll be joined by the delegations from all the other states that take part in the program,” says Toni Gore, coördinator of the Youth Tour competition for Horry Electric. “The grand total, not counting chaperones, is usually around 1,500 students.”
Gore, who has served as chaperone for the South Carolina delegation twice in the past ten years, says the experience is as rewarding for the chaperones as it is the students. Other Horry Electric employees who have served as chaperones in earlier years include Garrett Gasque, marketing representative; Ashley Johnson, training coördinator; Penelope Hinson, manager of public relations, marketing and energy management and Pat Howle, executive vice president and chief executive officer.
While in DC, Electric Cooperative Youth Tour student representatives tour historic sites, learn about our nation’s government and have lots of fun shopping, dining out, seeing a play and cruising the Potomac at sunset. “They also spend some time learning about the cooperative business model and the value of their local electric cooperative in their community,” says Gore. “It really is an opportunity of a lifetime for kids.”
Horry Electric’s local competition for student representatives is held in March each year. “Information packets are distributed to Horry County schools by the first week in January and the application deadline is typically mid-February,” says Gore. Study materials are sent to nominated students well in advance of the date scheduled for the process of selecting the two students. “Students can start asking their guidance counselors about the availability of applications after January 2,” says Gore, adding that grade point averages and class rank are not a factor in a student being considered for nomination.