GCEC Rewards Students with Tallahassee Trip

Jazmira Guzman and Jonah Swigart will represent Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative in Washington, D.C., at June’s annual Rural Electric Youth Tour. The two were selected in the cooperative’s recent competition. Madison Forehand is the alternate.

The co-op sponsors the contest for high school juniors whose parents or guardians are GCEC members.

A panel of three judges from the electric cooperative industry interviews contestants. Two winners are chosen for an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., where they join seniors-to-be from across the United States for a tour of the nation’s capital.

Local civic organizations and high schools nominate students for the trip. This year’s contestants and the organizations they represented were:

  • Hamylee Bailey, Port St. Joe High School.
  • Sadie Calareso, Wewahitchka High School.
  • Madison Forehand, Stone Mill Creek Volunteer Fire Department.
  • Jazmira Guzman, Bay High School.
  • Bria Halley, Deane Bozeman School.
  • Katie Jones, Wetappo Creek Volunteer Fire Department.
  • Hailey McDaniel, Wewahitchka Volunteer Fire Department.
  • Danielle McLemore, Wewahitchka Woman’s Club.
  • Kyra Pierce, Kinard Volunteer Fire Department.
  • Ryker Summerlin, Altha Public School.
  • Maegan Swearington, A. Crawford Moseley High School.
  • Jonah Swigart, Scotts Ferry Volunteer Fire Department.
  • Jailyn Williams, Dalkeith Volunteer Fire Department

In February, GCEC took all of the nominated students on a two-day trip to Tallahassee, where they toured sites in the state capital with high school juniors representing electric co-ops from across the state.

On the first day of the trip, students visited the Challenger Learning Center. They also held a mock session in the Senate chambers and toured the Florida State Capitol Observation Deck. The day ended with a visit to District850.

The next day, the group had a mock trial in the Supreme Court and toured the Florida Historic Capitol Museum.

“Youth Tour is a great opportunity for us to reward local students for being outstanding leaders in their communities,” says GCEC Vice President of Marketing and Communications Kristin Douglas.

The Rural Electric Youth Tour program started in 1957 when co-ops sent students to Washington, D.C., to work during the summer. By 1964, the program caught on, and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association began to coordinate the effort. Since then, thousands of young people have experienced this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit our nation’s capital and learn about cooperatives and the nation’s government.