We frequently make long-term investments at Powell Valley Electric Cooperative. Much of the infrastructure we build is designed to last for multiple decades. We construct substations and string power lines before there is load to serve. We connect subdivisions before homes are completed. We energize industrial parks before factories are operating. Often, we put time and resources into projects today, and we don’t see the benefit of those investments for months — or, in some cases, years — to come. It is critical that we make wise decisions today to ensure the future of our communities.

In my opinion, we can make no wiser investment than preparing young people to lead and serve. Soon, today’s students will be the leaders of our communities, and we do them — and ourselves — a tremendous disservice if we fail to prepare them for the leadership roles in which they will soon serve.

In June, Powell Valley Electric Cooperative sent four students to Washington, D.C., for the 2023 Washington Youth Tour. Each year, delegates on the trip explore our nation’s capital, make lasting friendships and learn about history, public policy and leadership.

In addition to Washington Youth Tour, Powell Valley Electric Cooperative supports our local schools because we understand the transformative power of education. By investing in education, we invest in the growth and prosperity of our communities. Education empowers individuals, breaks barriers and opens doors of opportunity. It equips young people with the skills, knowledge and values they need to become active contributors to society and agents of positive change.

It is important to remember that students will not be the only ones returning to classrooms this month. To the teachers, administrators, homeschool parents and others who put in time and effort to serve students, we applaud you. Your work is critical to the future of our entire community.

We owe it to our young people to champion education, bridge the gaps and ensure that everyone has access to quality learning opportunities. Together, we can create a community that thrives on knowledge and innovation.

I hope you’ll join Powell Valley Electric Cooperative in supporting our local schools — whether that is participating in a fundraiser, volunteering at an event, or just giving a teacher or administrator a pat on the back.

Let’s invest in the next generation of leaders — they hold the key to a brighter future.

— Brad Coppock