Pointe Coupee Electric sponsors students visit to nation's capitol

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South
Shown in front of the Capitol in Washington D.C. from left to right are Anna Daigrepont, E'Lexus Hatten, Nealie Moore, Alexis Saizan, Mary Solomon and Gus Bates.

NEW ROADS - Pointe Coupee Electric and NRG Energy/Louisiana Generating, LLC recently joined to sponsor six students as part of the 2013 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in Washington, D.C.

The six were awarded the free trip to Washington by being selected winners of PCEMC's Youth Tour Essay Writing Competition.

Representing PCEMC were Gus Bates, Nealie Moore and Anna Daigrepont. Also selected from among nine finalists to represent NRG Energy/Louisiana Generating on the Youth Tour were Alexis Saizan, E'Lexus Hatten and Mary Solomon.

Since PCEMC began participating in the annual Youth Tour program, dozens of local students have benefited from what has often been described as a "life changing" experience.

For their bus trip to Washington, the local students joined a group of 30 other students and chaperones from electric cooperatives across the state and the Association of Louisiana Electric Cooperatives in Baton Rouge where the trip began.

While in Washington, the students joined more than 1,500 other students from 37 states for the 41st Electric Cooperative Youth Tour.

"The purpose of the contest is to give local students a chance to develop leadership skills, learn how electric cooperatives work, see our government in action and tour Washington, D.C.," said PCEMC General Manager J.H. "Jodie" Cotten Jr. "We're happy that the students had a great time in Washington and that the cooperative could make this once-in-a-lifetime event possible. I know they learned a lot and represented Louisiana well."

PCEMC Director of Member Services Joanie Bishop said the cooperative is proud to continue supporting the worthwhile program that builds leadership skills and enriches the lives of each participant.

"Working with these young people is a real joy, to see them experiencing an important part of our national history and heritage for the first time and to know that something we are doing is making a difference in their lives," she said.

During the week-long Youth Tour, the students learned about electric Co-ops, visited Capitol Hill to meet Louisiana Senators and Representatives and had the unique chance to act as lobbyists and voice their concerns and pose their questions directly to lawmakers.

Students also visited the Lincoln Memorial, the World War II, Vietnam, and Korean War Memorials, Arlington National Cemetery, the Smithsonian Museum, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the National Archives.

In addition to taking in the sights and sounds of the nation's capital, all the various groups from participating states convened for National Youth Day on June 19 to hear from public figures and other inspirational speakers.

During their trip, the Louisiana students also visited the National Holocaust Museum, the Washington Monument the Jefferson Memorial and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.

The Rural Electric Youth Tour was inspired in 1957 by Senator and future President Lyndon B. Johnson. During an address to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, he urged attendees to send young people to the nation's capital so they could see first-hand how the government works.

NRECA is the national service organization representing more than 900 private, not-for-profit consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.

Each year, PCEMC and Louisiana Generating cover all expenses to send delegates to the tour. Delegates truly appreciate the experience every year, and the 2013 delegates were no different.

In personal, hand-written notes sent from the nation's capital, all the Youth Tour winners expressed their thanks.