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2021 Youth Tour Scholarship Winners


Despite COVID’s best attempt to slow down youth events across the nation, SWRE has successfully identified another great group of student leaders through the annual Youth Tour Contest. 

SWRE has held the Youth Tour Contest for high school juniors living or attending school in our service area since 1964. This year, the cooperative received 61 essay submissions and an independent judge narrowed the competition down to eight finalists. The finalists then competed in SWRE’s first-ever virtual speech competition, presenting their speeches live via video conference to a panel of independent judges. 

SWRE is proud to announce the winners and runners-up of the 2021 Youth Tour Contest as: 

Oklahoma Winner: Gavin Sonnenberg, Frederick High School 

Sponsoring Teacher: Mrs. Tari Espinosa


Texas Winner: Gabriel Gonzalez from Crowell High School

Sponsoring Teacher: Mrs. Whitney Halsell


Oklahoma Runner-Up: Caroline Newman, Frederick High School

Sponsoring Teacher: Mrs. Tari Espinosa


Texas Runner-Up: Robert Joya, Crowell High School

Sponsoring Teacher: Mrs. Whitney Halsell


Congratulations! The winners will be presented with generous scholarships from SWRE in lieu of NRECA’s decision to cancel the Youth Tour trip this summer to Washington D.C. amid health and safety concerns. The runners-up will also receive modest scholarships from the cooperative.

The remaining finalists, and very impressive young adults, competing in the speech contest were:

Cedar Smith, Crowell High School

Harold Chapman, Crowell High School

Ryker Miller, Navajo High School

Tiona White, Tipton High School

The cooperative extends a heartfelt “thank you” to our participating students and the teachers and parents who encouraged them to apply. Even in an unprecedented year, Youth Tour remains one of our most anticipated events and we couldn’t host it without YOU!

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