Area students selected to tour Washington, D.C.

Published 9:17 am Wednesday, March 7, 2007

By Staff
special to the standard
Southern Pine Electric Cooperative held its annual Washington, D. C. and Montgomery Youth Tour competition on Jan. 18. Twenty-six youth from area high schools arrived at the Brewton office of Southern Pine to compete for the four coveted Washington D. C. Youth Tour titles. The four winners of the Washington competition receive an all-expense paid trip to our nation's capital in June where they will join about 1,500 other high school juniors representing rural electric co-ops from approximately 46 states across the nation. While in Washington, the Youth Tour representatives will visit numerous tourist attractions, participate in leadership conferences, meet their legislators, and learn about the vital role of government in the life of rural electric cooperatives.
Another twelve of the youth who compete are selected as Montgomery Youth Tour representatives and receive an all-expense paid trip to our state's capital in March of this year. While in Montgomery, they will join about 120 students from across the state as they visit sites of interest, meet their legislators and participate in leadership conferences.
The faculty of each high school within the general service area of Southern Pine is asked to select one of their top male and female eleventh graders to compete in the Youth Tour program. Those students selected for the Southern Pine 2007 Youth Tour program include: Cortney Blankenship, Excel High School; Ebony Johnson and Patrick Threatt Jr., Frisco City High School; Alicia Manzie and Michael Williams, J. F. Shields High School; MaeLee Taylor and Stephen Bradley Akins of J. U. Blacksher High School; Jen Norris and Richard Martin Jr. of Monroe Academy; Julie Evans and LaTyron McCall, Monroe County High School; Matthew McDaniel of New Life Christian School; Hayden Armuelles and Myles Wiggins of Sparta Academy; Kaylen Thomas and Willie McCaskell of Hillcrest High School; Leigh Ann Everette and James Tyler Brown, Escambia Academy; Melissa Martin and Scott Jensen of Escambia County High School; Tara Brown and Marcus Castillow, Flomaton High School; Amelia Couture and James Hamric of T. R. Miller High School; and Maggie Crutchfield and Demitrius Barksdale, W. S. Neal High School.
The judges for the event were Wanda Woods and Christi Scruggs of Alabama Electric Co-op in Andalusia; and Robin Sessions of Jefferson Davis Community College. Judges interviewed each individual competitor, evaluating them on their knowledge of current events, their academic and extracurricular activities and general demeanor. Notable consideration was given to the academic and leadership achievements of each student. Students were administered a written exam testing their knowledge of Southern Pine and rural electric cooperative history, the cooperative business model and Touchstone Energy.
At the end of the judging, the four outstanding scholars selected as Southern Pine's 2007 Washington, D. C. Youth Tour representatives were: LaTyron McCall of Monroe County High School; Amelia Couture of T. R. Miller High School; Maggie Crutchfield and Demitrius Barksdale of W. S. Neal High School. Jen Norris and Richard Martin Jr. of Monroe Academy were selected as alternates.
The twelve students chosen as Montgomery Youth Tour representatives are: Jen Norris and Richard Martin Jr. of Monroe Academy; Tara Brown and Marcus Castillow of Flomaton; James Hamric of T. R. Miller; Kaylen Thomas and Willie McCaskill of Hillcrest; Cortney Blankenship of Excel; Leigh Ann Everette of Escambia Academy; Hayden Armuelles of Sparta; Scott Jensen of Escambia County High School; and Patrick Threatt Jr. of Frisco City. Alicia Manzie of J. F. Shields and Melissa Martin of Escambia County High School were selected as Montgomery Youth Tour alternates.
LaTyron McCall is the son of Angelia Jones and Tyrone McCall. He lives in Monroeville and attends Monroe County High School. This outstanding young scholar is a member of the Beta Club, Key Club, Jets Club, National Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America. He has been involved in Upward Bound, DECA and FEA, as well. LaTyron's hobbies include basketball, tennis, going to sporting events and talking with friends on the phone.
Amelia Couture attends T. R. Miller H. S. and is the daughter of Tom and Donna Couture of Brewton. Amelia is very active in extracurricular activities, as a cheerleader and softball team player. She enjoys singing and playing the trombone, racing dirt bikes and wakeboarding. Amelia is a straight-A student, ranked fourth in her class. She is a member of her school's Scholar's Bowl and Math Teams, was a 2005 Regional Science Olympiad winner and a 2005 Auburn University Honor Band member.
Maggie Crutchfield is the daughter of Jack and Ava Crutchfield of East Brewton. She attends W. S. Neal where she is an honor student and is ranked in the top five of her junior class. Maggie is a member of Mu Alpha Theta and the National Honor Society. She also serves as treasurer of the Honor Society. Maggie is a W. S. Neal representative for the Brewton Chamber of Commerce Youth Leadership Team and is active in her church youth group. She plays tennis and volleyball and is a cheerleader for her school. In her spare time, she enjoys rollerblading, singing and crocheting.
Demitrius Barksdale also attends W. S. Neal High School and is the son of Nicola Barksdale of East Brewton, Ala. He is an accomplished cook and says the best gift he ever received was his own grill. Demitrius loves watching the cooking networks, creating his own recipes and writing narratives. He is a member of the student government, president of the junior class, and editor of the school's yearbook. He is also a member of the National Honor Society.
Southern Pine Electric Cooperative serves over 20,000 accounts in portions of Baldwin, Conecuh, Covington, Escambia and Monroe Counties in Alabama. The co-op has offices in Atmore, Brewton, Frisco City and Evergreen, Ala. Southern Pine has been an integral part of these communities for more than 68 years and remains a committed and dedicated corporate neighbor.

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