Local students selected to participate in National Rural Electric Youth Tour

Photo Credit: La Plata Electric Association

La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) selected four local high school juniors to spend a week in the nation’s capitol as part of the National Rural Electric Youth Tour. The cooperative received 20 applications for this year’s youth tour program. Recipients were selected based on merit and leadership and will join 34 student delegates from Colorado.

“After a few years off due to COVID, we were happy to see such a strong pool of applicants for this year’s youth tour to Washington, D.C.,” LPEA CEO Jessica Matlock said. “This is a great opportunity for our future local leaders to learn more about political processes and the electrical industry, and to make connections with others that could shift the trajectory of their lives.” 

The 2023 LPEA delegates are as follows:

Katie Killinen from Bayfield High School. “I love traveling, meeting new people, seeing new places, and having new experiences,” Killinen said. “This leadership tour means so much to me because I get to do all that in one trip.” 

Aisha O’Neil from Durango High School. “To me, attending the youth tour presents a unique opportunity to learn about my country and my own aspirations outside of my small community,” O’Neil said.

Devante’ Montoya, Ignacio High School. “One opportunity used wisely can change your life dramatically,” Montoya said.

Rachael Berndt, Pagosa Springs High School. “I’m completely grateful to be given this incredible opportunity to go on the LPEA Youth Tour,” Berndt said. “I’m beyond thrilled to explore new places and to dive deep into all kinds of history, culture, and experiences.” 

Students will learn about the utility cooperative business model, visit historical monuments and memorials, and meet elected officials from June 12-18, 2023. The trip is fully sponsored by LPEA and the Colorado Rural Electric Association. More than 1,800 students from 45 states will participate this year.

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