Due to the ongoing pandemic, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) canceled the 2021 youth trips to Washington D.C. and Steamboat Springs, CO. In response, the Western Cooperative Board of Trustees approved four $1,000 Youth Leadership scholarships for qualifying students.
Scholarships were open to high school Juniors with a parent or guardian who is a Western Cooperative member. Three components factored into the student’s scores, write an essay on a topic they felt passionate about, a written exam, and a virtual interview with three judges scoring their performance.
Member Services Manager Nolan Numrich, “Although it was unfortunate we were unable to send students on the youth trips, we had an incredible group of students competing for the scholarships.”
All the students put forth their best effort, which was reflected in an extremely tight competition. Out of a possible 425 points, only 5 points separated the top five.
The 2021 Cooperative Youth Leadership Scholarships winners are Maggie Brull, TMP-Marian High School, Brooke Herrman, LaCrosse High School, Lauren Patmon, Golden Plains High School, and Trya Schultz, Wheatland High School.
The fifth-place runner-up, Yousoph Mostafa, Ellsworth High School, will receive the $250 Darrell Brown Memorial Scholarship.
“Going through a formal interview as a 16 or 17-year-old can be intimidating, but all the students did an amazing job,” said Numrich. “I think it speaks to the quality of youth being raised in our rural communities and provides a glimpse into the bright future that lies ahead.” In addition to the scholarship money, Kansas Electric Cooperatives (KEC) plans to hold a virtual leadership conference in June for contest winners from across the state. During the Kansas Electric Youth Leadership (KEY) Conference, students will have the opportunity to speak with state legislators, motivational speakers and develop leadership skills for the future.
For more information on Western’s Youth Programs, visit westerncoop.com/youth-tour.