• Area high school students to visit Washington DC courtesy of LPEA


    Juniors Dante Ciotti, Kendra Schlom and Katherine Svanes selected

    DURANGO, Colo. – Area high school students Dante Ciotti (Durango), Kendra Schlom (Pagosa Springs) and Katherine Svanes (Bayfield)) have been selected to represent La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) as part of the National Rural Electric Youth Tour to Washington D.C.

    The opportunity to participate in the D.C. Youth Tour, scheduled for June 14-21, 2012, was open to all current high school juniors who receive their electric power from La Plata Electric Association. LPEA annually underwrites the cost of the trip for up to four students within its service territory – one from each school district. No applications were received from Ignacio this year.

    “This trip is a tremendous opportunity for our area juniors,” said Greg Munro, LPEA CEO. “The country and the world are facing many challenges in the energy arena, and the industry is changing, so it’s important that our next generation gain an understanding about energy policy development at the federal level. We are pleased to be able to further that education.”

    Students completed an application and penned a 500-word essay covering an aspect of the electric industry of their choosing, and their work was judged anonymously by an independent committee. Excerpts of the winning students’ essays are included below.

    LPEA’s student representatives will join juniors from the cooperative’s sister electric co-ops across Colorado for the once-in-a-lifetime experience. The schedule includes an intimate look at the nation’s capitol and the government from the inside, including discussion of current concerns with national and state Congressional representatives. Tours of Washington D.C.’s monuments and museums, plus social activities, are also part of the agenda.

    In his essay, Durango High School junior Dante Ciotti pointed out the role electricity has played in the rise of social media as an influence in the world, “…Although it is vastly apparent that electricity powers modern convenience, electricity has played a role in powering something new. That something, oddly enough, is social change.”

    Kendra Schlom, a junior at Pagosa Springs High School, focused on our energy future, “…Although seemingly imposing, the barriers to progress presented by the stipulations of clean, efficient, and cost effective energy alternatives are not insurmountable. The energy education provided to students in the modern world is equipping them to be able to face the energy problems of the present and future.”

    Bayfield High School junior Katherine Svanes described how electricity changed her great-grandparent’s way of life when KEM Electric Cooperative finally, in 1950, brought electricity to their rural North Dakota farm, “In today’s society people take electricity for granted. They will walk into a house and turn the lights and television on. They understand that the electricity comes from an electric company, but do not understand what it took to get electricity in their homes and what it would be like to live without power.”

    Applications for the 2013 Washington D.C. Youth Tour will be available in November 2012 at LPEA’s offices in Durango and Pagosa Springs, through area high school counselors, or on the web, www.lpea.coop. Home-schooled students are eligible to apply.

    LPEA, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative established in 1939, provides to its more than 30,000 members, with in excess of 42,000 meters, safe, reliable electricity at the lowest reasonable cost, while being environmentally responsible. For additional information, contact LPEA at 970.247.5786 or visit www.lpea.coop.

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