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Local students represent EnerStar Electric during the nationwide Youth to Washington Tour

Two high school students and Congressman ShimkusWhat do you get when 71 students from 27 Illinois electric and telephone cooperatives join more than 1,800 of their peers from all over the United States? You get the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Youth to Washington Tour!

Two local students were selected from a diverse group of applicants to represent EnerStar Electric Cooperative. They were sent on an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. from June 8-15 as part of the annual Youth Tour.

The 2018 Youth Tour delegates from EnerStar Electric included Bethanny Lawson of Paris and Chase Mayne of Martinsville.

The students toured Capitol Hill and met with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and Congressman John Shimkus. They also visited historical and cultural sites including Arlington National Cemetery, the Supreme Court, Newseum, Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, a variety of memorials and the U.S. Capitol. Among fun activities the students enjoyed were the Marine Corps Sunset Parade, the Smithsonian Museums and an assembly of Youth Tour participants from across the nation.

Two students outside of congress“Some of my favorite memorials included the Newseum and the Holocaust Museum,” 2018 participant Bethanny Lawson said. “They were the most humbling, and really demonstrated how we as a country are able to work from evil to create more good.”

“Youth Tour is a great opportunity that changes these students’ lives,” says Mike Clark, President/ CEO of EnerStar Electric. “This experience helps prepare them for their futures. After touring our nation’s capital, meeting congressional representatives and learning firsthand how our government works, they return home with valuable knowledge and memories that will last a lifetime.”

Since 1964, the nation’s cooperative electric and telephone utilities have sponsored more than 60,000 high school students to visit Washington, D.C. Applications to represent Enerstar at next years tour will be available in October. To learn more about the Youth to Washington Tour, go to

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