Press Release – December 2015


SSVEC to Send Local Students on All-Expense-Paid Trips to Washington, D.C., Next June

Willcox, November 20—Nine high school juniors will be touring the nation’s capital for one week this next summer as winners of Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative’s (SSVEC’s) 36th annual Washington Youth Tour competition. The student finalists were recognized on Thursday evening, November 18 following a dinner honoring them and their parents at Benson High School in Benson, Arizona.

The students who earned all-expense-paid trips to Washington, D.C., are Noah Bell and Shawnee Wright from Veritas High School, Joshua Caputo and Katie Tran from Buena High School, Steven Daley and Byron Kartchner from St. David High School, Karsen Estelle from Valley Union High School, Maria Galloway-Sprietsma from Benson High School, and Ryan Klump from Bowie High School.

The cooperative’s Washington Youth Tour program is open to all high school juniors in SSVEC’s service area. SSVEC personnel visited the nine high schools as well as two private schools served by the cooperative in September, explained the program and left study materials for a preliminary test. Those who scored highest on this test at each high school moved to the next level of competition—an essay. This year’s essay topic asked students to develop a marketing campaign promoting alternative energy. Twenty students whose essays scored highest were invited to the final stage of competition on the afternoon of November 18. The students took a second test covering more complex materials about SSVEC, cooperatives, energy, and electricity terminology, and each student was interviewed by a panel of four judges.

The eleven students who advanced to the final competition but did not win the trip, earned $200 each for their efforts. These students are Kassi Barndollar and Samantha Fortner from Benson High School; Grady Butler and Jason Tinney from Veritas High School; Raigan Edwards from Tombstone High School; Victoria Girgis, Victoria Howell and Kaine Sponcey from Buena High School; Kamilia Hereira and Kaleen Hunt from Berean Academy; and Tyler Maley from Valley Union High School.

Following the dinner and prior to the announcement of the winners, Washington Youth Tour Coordinator Marcus Harston explained details of the Washington Youth Tour program and the upcoming trip. He also introduced SSVEC Board members Directors Dan Barrera, Gene Manring and David Luna.

The Washington Youth Tour program is funded by the SSVEC Foundation. As a cooperative, SSVEC periodically returns money earned in excess of expenses to its members. When those members move out of the area and leave no forwarding address, SSVEC transfers the money to the SSVEC Foundation. This is money that was previously forfeited to the state of Arizona. With the establishment of the Foundation in 1984, the cooperative sponsors not only the Washington Youth Tour, but the annual Youth Engineering and Science Fair and the SSVEC Foundation Scholarship program.

Rebekah Knaub, member services assistant, announced the results of the competition, and SSVEC Board member Gene Manring and SSVEC Chief Executive Officer Creden W. Huber presented the students with plaques recognizing their efforts.

Interview judges were Les Boegemann, Benson attorney (and a former Youth Tour participant); Geoff Oldfather, communications, marketing and public relations manager for Arizona’s G & T Cooperatives; Barbara Richardson, director of the Benson center of Cochise College; and Char Brown Stockton, retired social worker from Elgin, Ariz.

Chaperons for the 2016 tour are Werner Neubauer, SSVEC journeyman lineman, and his wife, Tina. Students and chaperons will tour Washington, D.C., from June 9-16, 2016.

For more information, Contact Wayne Crane:
  • In Willcox, 520-384-5510
  • or Sierra Vista, 520-458-4691 (ext. 5510)


For Immediate Release: #15-007