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SWRE Awards Students with Trip to Washington D.C.


Southwest Rural Electric Association has awarded Paige Orr from Frederick High School and Haley Spurr from Electra High School an all-expenses paid, week-long trip to Youth Tour in Washington D.C. this summer. Paige is the daughter of Vinson and Cheryl Orr. Haley is the daughter of Monica Spurr and Cesar Diaz. 


SWRE began the Youth Tour Contest in 1964 and has sent an Oklahoma and Texas student representative to the nation’s capital each year. Cooperatives around the country send student leaders to convene in Washington D.C. during Youth Tour to learn about government, meet their congressional representatives and tour many of the historical monuments. The trip is affectionately doted as “the trip of a lifetime” by former Youth Tour attendees.


SWRE received 70 essay submissions for the Youth Tour Contest this year which is open to all high school juniors living or attending school in SWRE’s service territory. Eight finalists were chosen from the essay submissions by an independent judge and asked to present their essays as extemporaneous speeches at the Youth Tour Banquet held at SWRE headquarters on Thursday, February 6. A panel of independent judges determined the contest winners.


Analiza Duenas from Navajo High School and Edgar Alarcon from Chillicothe High School were awarded the runners-up prizes: a spot at Oklahoma Electric Cooperative’s Leadership Summit in Oklahoma City in March. At Leadership Summit, students will learn valuable leadership skills, meet students from other cooperatives and be awarded a $500 scholarship.


Other contest finalists included Brayden Smith from Navajo High School, Brie Elliott from Tipton High School, and Megan Terrell and Mackie Newton from Chillicothe High School. All speech finalists were awarded certificates and a $250 cash prize.


“The Youth Tour Contest is one of our most-anticipated events of the year,” said Keith Bonham, interim CEO of SWRE. “We were impressed with the caliber of student that entered the contest this year, especially our speech finalists. Thank you to the teachers and parents that encouraged their students to apply for Youth Tour!” 


SWRE’s Youth Tour Contest student finalists included (back row from L to R) Paige Orr – Frederick, Brie Elliott – Tipton, Brayden Smith – Navajo, Analiza Duenas – Navajo, (front row from L to R) Mackie Newton – Chillicothe, Megan Terrell – Chillicothe, Haley Spurr – Electra and Edgar Alarcon – Chillicothe.  

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