Middle Tennessee Electric Takes Local Students to Washington, D.C.
Murfreesboro, Tenn - Seven students from Middle Tennessee spent a week in the nation’s capital last month as delegates of the 2022 Washington Youth Tour. Kellie Koss from Cannon County High School, Thomas Livingston from Page High School, Katelyn Lyons from Summit High School, Louis Millan-Belmonte from Smyrna High School, Maria Galue Ojeda from Stewarts Creek High School, Becca Petty from Mt. Juliet High School and Abby White from Rockvale High School joined 49 other students from across Tennessee on the weeklong trip that began Friday, June 17.
The annual event, sponsored by Middle Tennessee Electric (MTE) and the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association (TECA), provides young leaders with an opportunity to explore the nation’s capital, learn about government and cooperatives and develop their leadership skills. Students were selected for the trip by writing short stories titled “Electric Cooperatives – Building a Brighter Tennessee” that explain how co-ops like MTE are investing in the future of the communities they serve.
“These young people are the future leaders of our region,” said Jay Sanders, MTE’s community relations coordinator. “The Youth Tour is a unique opportunity for them to experience history and public policy up-close and personal and to develop leadership skills and knowledge that will serve our communities for years to come.”
“The Youth Tour recognizes the best and brightest from across Tennessee,” said Todd Blocker, TECA vice president of member relations and tour director. “By honoring their accomplishments through programs like the Washington Youth Tour, we show these young people that they have an important role to play in the future of Tennessee. We want these young people to come home with a better understanding of history, stronger leadership skills and a passion to serve their community.”
While in Washington, D.C., Tennessee’s Youth Tour delegates saw the White House and memorials to past presidents Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt as well as monuments honoring the sacrifices of veterans of World War II and the Vietnam and Korean Wars. During visits to the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, the students saw and experienced natural, historical and artistic treasures. Other fun stops included historic homes of former presidents — George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Jefferson’s Monticello — as well as the National Museum of the Marine Corps, the National Cathedral and a boat cruise down the Potomac River. The group also paid a solemn and sobering visit to Arlington National Cemetery where the delegates laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
The group was welcomed to the U.S. Capitol by Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty as well as members of the Tennessee congressional delegation who posed for photos and answered questions.
“An investment in these young people is also an investment in the communities we serve,” said David Callis, TECA CEO. “These are exceptional students, and our hope is that their youth tour experience empowers them to return home and make a difference in their communities.”
President Lyndon Johnson inspired the Washington Youth Tour in 1957 when he encouraged electric cooperatives to send students to the nation’s capital. In the years since, more than 6,000 young Tennesseans have been delegates on the Washington Youth Tour.
About Middle Tennessee Electric (MTE)
Founded in 1936, MTE is the largest electric cooperative in the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) region and the second largest in the United States, serving more than 750,000 Tennesseans via 320,000+ accounts covering nearly 2,200 square miles in 11 Middle Tennessee counties, primarily Rutherford, Cannon, Williamson and Wilson. Municipalities served include Murfreesboro, Franklin, Brentwood, Smyrna, La Vergne, Lebanon and Mt. Juliet. MTE employs 520 people in seven local offices and its Murfreesboro corporate headquarters.
MTE’s subsidiary, United Communications, is a nationally recognized broadband company with a fiber network spanning more than 1,200 route miles providing high-speed internet and other services to portions of Williamson, Rutherford, Marshall, Bedford, Franklin and Davidson counties.