Clinch High School student Noah Jones and Claiborne High School student Mary Lipfird were in Nashville March 12-14 for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association’s annual Youth Leadership Summit. These students were selected by the principal and guidance counselor at the school and were sponsored by Powell Valley Electric Cooperative. Delegates to the annual event receive a hands-on look at state government, learn networking and leadership skills and develop a better understanding of their local electric cooperatives.
While in Nashville, the students visited the State Capitol Building where they were welcomed to Nashville by members of the Tennessee General Assembly. Alan Whittington, assistant chief clerk of the Senate, explained the process required to pass legislation, and students debated and voted on a mock bill.
In addition to lawmakers, students also heard from Tennessee leaders like Ms. Tennessee 2018 Caty Davis; Adam Hammond, anchor for Nashville’s NewsChannel5; and Trooper Jeffrey Buchanan with the Tennessee Executive Protection Detail.
Delegates to the Youth Leadership Summit are encouraged to be leaders in their hometowns and use their talents to improve rural Tennessee. “Local electric co-ops, school officials and guidance counselors chose these deserving students to attend the summit based on their interests in government and strong leadership abilities,” says Todd Blocker, Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association vice president of member relations and director of the Youth Leadership Summit. “They will be the next generation of leaders in rural Tennessee, and we want to prepare them for the challenges and opportunities they will face.”
“These students will soon be our community leaders — and electric cooperative member-owners,” says Randell Meyers, General Manager of Powell Valley Electric Cooperative. “We want them to share our passion for rural Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, so it is an honor for Powell Valley Electric Cooperative to help prepare them for the opportunities that are ahead. We want them to see what makes their electric cooperative special. We want them to appreciate all their co-op provides for their communities and understand why it was so important to form electric co-ops in the first place. The future of our rural communities depends on a new generation of strong leaders like these.”