Local students see Washington sites, meet with national leaders

By Abby Berry


Fifty-five of Mississippi’s brightest high school students recently participated in the annual Rural Electric Youth Tour, spending seven days touring our nation’s capital.

Kate Sprabery and Andrew Yates represented East Mississippi Electric Power Association on the Youth Tour. Kate, daughter of Dr. Pat and Donna Sprabery of Meridian, will be a senior at Southeast Lauderdale High School this fall. Andrew will be a senior at Grace Christian School and is the son of Hubert and Tracey Yates of Louisville.

The week-long trip featured visits to the major monuments and memorials, including the World War II Memorial, FDR Memorial, Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

“This experience has opened my eyes to many new things,” said Kate. “I would like to thank EMEPA for this amazing opportunity!”

A trip to the Kennedy Center was one of the first stops on the tour. While there, the students enjoyed a breathtaking view of the Potomac River from the balcony level, followed by the theatrical production “Shear Madness,” one of the longest running non-musicals of all time.

The students were taken on a guided tour of the Washington National Cathedral, the second largest cathedral in the U.S. The cathedral has played a vital role in our nation’s history, serving as a grand spiritual center where Americans can unite to worship, pray and mourn. Another highlight of the tour was a visit to Arlington Cemetery, where the students reverently watched the changing of the guard and also viewed a burial ceremony. Approximately 30 burials take place at Arlington Cemetery each day. The students also visited the gravesites of President John F. Kennedy and

Medgar Evers, and toured the Arlington House (Robert E. Lee Memorial).

The students spent a day touring four of the Smithsonian Museums, including the museums of Air and Space, American History, Natural History and American Art. Two popular events of the tour were a stop by Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and an evening cruise down the Potomac River.

“Youth Tour has been such a great experience,” said Andrew. “I have a newfound appreciation for our country.”

In addition, the students attended a Youth Day event with more than 1,500 students representing electric cooperatives from 43 states across the nation.

The students spent a day on Capitol Hill, which began with a special tour of the Congressional House Floor, graciously hosted by Rep. Gregg Harper. After a tour of the Capitol, Kate and Andrew visited Rep. Harper’s D.C. office. Rep. Harper spoke to the students about the importance of making good decisions. He encouraged them to always strive for their best and set high goals. While visiting on Capitol Hill, students

also had the opportunity to meet with Sen. Roger Wicker.

The Youth Tour is part of an extensive Youth Leadership Program supported by EMEPA.

“Our youth leadership program gives young leaders the unique opportunity to visit their nation’s capital and see the political process in action while also learning more about thinking and problem solving in a cooperative manner,” said Wayne Henson, general manager of EMEPA. “It is our goal to enhance their leadership abilities and challenge them to return to their communities and schools to make a difference.”

EMEPA congratulates these students on their accomplishments.

2013 Youth Tour

Fifty-five of Mississippi’s finest high school juniors spent part of their summer vacation exploring the nation’s capital and making new friends, courtesy of their electric power association.

As participants in the 27th annual Rural Electric Youth Tour, the students visited many of Washington’s most significant historic and cultural sites during the week-long trip. They also took part in special events with more than 1,500 other Youth Tour participants from other states.

A highlight was a visit to the U.S. Capitol, where Rep. Gregg Harper took the Mississippi students to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives before the Congressmen convened. Each student also had the opportunity to meet his or her Congressman.

“The trip was one of the greatest experiences of my life and I will be forever grateful for it,” said participant Caroline Bradley, of Lucedale.

Caroline was selected during the Youth Leadership Workshop in March to represent Mississippi on the national Youth Leadership Council. The workshop and Youth Tour are components of the Electric Power Associations of Mississippi Youth Leadership Program. Participants are chosen through a competitive process sponsored by their electric power association.

“We are strong advocates of providing resources to educate and encourage our young people,” said Ron Stewart, senior vice president of the Electric Power Associations of Mississippi. “Our investment in this program has produced outstanding dividends as we see many of our past participants serving in leadership roles in our communities, schools and government. They have accepted our challenge and are using their skills to make a difference. Their involvement is a true example of the success this program has experienced in the past 27 years.”

2013 Rural Electric Youth Tour delegates and their sponsoring electric power associations are Alcorn County EPA: Kelsey English, Faith LaFever; Central EPA: Kooper Battle, Zach Williams; Coast EPA: Bailey Purvis, Courtney Thurtell; Dixie EPA: Emily Bedwell, Dru Elkins, Jesse Smith, Ben Spiller; East Mississippi EPA: Kate Sprabery, Andrew Yates; 4-County EPA: Subrina Oswalt, Caden Teer; Magnolia EPA: Garrett Smith, Ben Stroud, Carlee Welch-Dick; Natchez Trace EPA: Nicole Baecher, Steele Liles; North East Mississippi EPA: Kaitlyn Bishop, Shawnda Pettis, Aaron Watkins; Northcentral EPA: Charles Cooper, Claudia Espinosa-Batres, Corteilous Jones, Kaitlyn Kendall, Shamessia Lee, Kristen Lusby, Dustin Moore, Luke Phillips, Bree Starnes, Walker Underwood; Pearl River Valley EPA: Cody Letchworth, Mitch Strider; Singing River EPA: Caroline Bradley, Victoria Cason, Anna Del Castillo; Southern Pine EPA: Leah Bowlin, Xiara Day; Southwest Mississippi EPA: Terry McBeth, Reagan Myers; Tallahatchie Valley EPA: Whitney Hudson, Neil Patel, Jesse Pearson, Erin Snider; Tombigbee EPA: Seth Dickinson, Ryan Gillentine, Sydney Gully, Nataly Loague, Shelby Miller, Jacob Pharr, Alivia Roberts; Twin County EPA: Scott Miller Jr., Charlie Yelverton; Yazoo Valley EPA: Chelsea Wright.


At the whitehouse

At the whitehouse