DeFUNIAK SPRINGS — Four local high school students have earned trips to Washington, D.C. as part of the nationally recognized Youth Tour education program hosted by America’s electric cooperative community.
The students are Rachel Gold, Niceville High School; Devin Herrington, Freeport High School; Brandon Engler, Baker High School; and Christopher Hammonds, Paxton High School.
Two alternates, Samantha Arvin, Collegiate High School, and JP Talty, Niceville High School, also were selected.
The Youth Tour program is sponsored locally by Choctawhatchee Electric Cooperative, Inc., or CHELCO. It will cover the cost of sending the students to the nation’s capital from June 15-20.
In Washington, the local high school juniors and hundreds of others across the country served by electric cooperatives will be guests of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The itinerary includes meeting federal lawmakers and visiting the Smithsonian museums, among many other activities.
A standing ovation greeted the winners when they were announced at CHELCO’s annual Youth Tour banquet Feb. 28.
Three judges interviewed 17 contestants for the Washington trip. The students had 10 minutes each to impress the panel with their knowledge of CHELCO, the science of electricity, current affairs or other types of questions. Additional factors in winning were their poise and ability to communicate under pressure.
Along with the students selected by the judges for the Washington trip, the following received certificates at the banquet for being chosen by their schools to participate in CHELCO’s 30th annual Youth Tour: Sophia Chaitha, Baker School; Holley Nicholson and Joseph Printy, Crestview High School; Noah Simmons, Freeport High School; Jessica Fickett, Laurel Hill School; Shelby Cain, Paxton High School; Claire Gunter, Rocky Bayou Christian School; Solomon Tape, South Walton High School; Alix Bikker, Collegiate High School; and Hunter Bell and Samantha Kirby, Walton High School.
CHELCO is a not-for-profit electric cooperative serving Walton and Okaloosa counties, and portions of Holmes and Santa Rosa counties.