Press Release – November 2019


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 –  An all-expense-paid trip to the nation’s capital, courtesy of the Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative Foundation, awaits nine area high school juniors next June after the 40th annual Washington Youth Tour Finals competition in Benson on Nov. 13.

The students who earned trips to Washington, D.C., include Chesed Chap (Patagonia Union High School), Claire Daley (St. David High School), Dakota Heap (San Simon High School), Kason Jacquez (St. David High School), Kylianne Chadwick (Buena High School), Madison Monbleau (Buena High School), Nephi Higgenbotham (St. David High School), Sammantha Caywood (Benson High School) and Tobias Temple (Buena High School).

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 August 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 “Building a Partnership.”

Nineteen students whose test scores and essays scored the highest were invited to the final stage of competition on the afternoon of Nov. 13. The students took a second test covering more complex materials about SSVEC, cooperatives, energy and electricity terminology; then each student was interviewed by a panel of three judges.

Four of the students earned $200 each for their efforts, including Alexis Thompson (Tombstone High School), Christin Lamkie (Valley Union High School), Lauren Lynch (Buena High School) and Miriam Allen (Buena 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 Carmen Noll (Tombstone High School), David Gordon (San Simon High School), Julia Dahl (St. David High School), Marissa Perry (Buena High School), Mikala Driscoll (San Simon High School) and Sofia Olsen (Veritas Christian Community 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 fund the annual Youth Engineering and Science Fair as well as the SSVEC Foundation Scholarship program.

Michele McCollum, Member Services Assistant, announced the results of the competition, and SSVEC Board President Dan Barrera presented the students with plaques recognizing their efforts.

Interview judges were Melissa DiPeso, former SSVEC board member; Barbara Richardson, MBA, Assistant Dean of Outreach at Cochise College Benson Center; and J.D. Wallace, Cooperative Communications, Social Media and Marketing Administrator for Arizona G & T Cooperatives.

Chaperones for the 2020 tour are Deidra Tulk, SSVEC Engineering Technician, and her husband Phillip Puchkors. Students and chaperones will tour Washington, D.C. from June 18-26, 2020.

CAPTION: From left: Sammantha Caywood (Benson High School), Nephi Higgenbotham (St. David High School), Madison Monbleau (Buena High School), Kason Jacquez (St. David High School), Claire Daley (St. David High School), Dan Barrera (SSVEC Board President), Kylianne Chadwick (Buena High School), Chesed Chap (Patagonia Union High School), Tobias Temple (Buena High School) and Dakota Heap (San Simon High School). Photo credit: Mark Levy.