Press Release – November 2018


 For more information contact Eric Petermann:

For Immediate Release

SSVEC to send local students on all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in June

Benson — Nine high school juniors will be touring the nation’s capital for one week in June, 2019, representing the winners of the Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative (SSVEC) 39th annual Washington Youth Tour competition. Twenty-one student finalists were recognized on Wednesday evening, Nov. 7 following a dinner honoring them and their parents at Benson High School.

The students who earned all-expense-paid trips to Washington, D.C., include Angeliana Martinez, Willcox High School; Thor Gavin and Hannah Runyon, homeschool; Alan Gardner and Anna Miles of Benson High School; Lynn Ly, Carsten Huber, Victoria Lucero and Brianna Collier of Buena High School in Sierra Vista.

The Cooperative’s Washington Youth Tour program is open to all high school juniors in SSVEC’s service area. SSVEC staff members visited nine high schools and two private schools in the Cooperative service area beginning in September to explain the annual Youth Tour. Study materials were provided to students for a test and students who scored well moved to the next level of competition—an essay. This year’s essay topic was “The Future of Energy.”

Twenty-one students whose test scores and essays scored the highest were invited to the final stage of competition on the afternoon of Nov. 7. 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.

Six of the students earned $200 each for their efforts, including Leilani Jones from Berean Academy; Cameron Young and Julian Keeling from Tombstone High School; Arrianna Ochoa from Patagonia High School; Logan May from Buena High School and Hailey Smith of Valley Union High School.

Six students earned $200, and they were offered $500 toward the cost of the tour as first-runner-up winners. Those students included Joshua Bell and Brittany Bradley from Veritas Christian Community School, Akira Jones and Thomas Hayne from St. David High School, Adriana Raber from Valley Union High School, and Venesa Romero from Benson High School.

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. Funds provided by the Foundation also the annual Youth Engineering and Science Fair and the SSVEC Foundation Scholarship program.

Michele McCollum, member services assistant, announced the results of the competition, and SSVEC Board President Dan Barrera and Chief Executive Officer Creden Huber presented the students with plaques recognizing their efforts.

Interview judges were Melissa Di Peso, former SSVEC board member, Les Boegemann, Benson attorney (and a former Youth Tour participant); Barbara Richardson, director of the Cochise College Benson center and Willcox Center of Cochise College; and J.D. Wallace, cooperative communications, social media and marketing administrator for Arizona Generation and Transmission Cooperatives.

Chaperons for the 2018 tour are Thomas Riggs, SSVEC SCADA Engineer II, and his wife,  Buffi. Students and chaperons will tour Washington, D.C., from June 8-15, 2019.