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Youth tour participants recount Washington trip

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Photo: Michelle Brock from Ridgeview High School in Orange Park tells Clay Electric members about the 2013 youth tour. Also pictured are (l-r) Grant McGee of Keystone Heights High School, Shane Crawford of Northside Christian Academy in Starke and Jared Makatura of Interlachen High School.

BY DAN HILDEBRAN
Monitor Editor

Four high school students from Clay Electric’s service area recounted their trips to Tallahassee and Washington last year as part of the co-op’s 2013 youth tour.

Derick Thomas, Clay Electric’s director of member and public relations said the purpose of the tour is to educate students about electric cooperatives and about the workings of state and national governments.

Participants were selected from the junior classes of high schools in the co-op’s service area. They spent two days in Tallahassee to observe state government and while there also competed in the youth tour speech contest.

The four top finishers in the contest earned a week-long trip to Washington.

The 2013 youth tour winners were Grant McGee of Keystone Heights High School, Michelle Brock of Ridgeview High School in Orange Park, Jerad Makatura of Interlachen High School and Shane Crawford of Starke’s Northside Christian Academy.

McGee said the experience in Tallahassee exceeded his expectations but the Washington trip was almost overwhelming.

“It was the trip of a lifetime,” McGee told co-op members. “Thank you for being involved.”

Brock said that in addition to seeing the history of Washington, meeting other youth tour participants from around the country enriched her experience in the capital.

“We didn’t actually have to go to all the different states to see all these people,” she said. “All these people from all these different states met in one place where we all joined together and talked to people that are like-minded as we are. I couldn’t replace that for the world.”

The 2014 youth tour winners are Brendan Register of Taylor High School, Bailey Creighton of Bradford High School, Taylor Warring of Buchholz High School in Gainesville and Savannah Woodall of Union County High School. They will visit Washington the week of June 15-20.

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