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Copyright 2006 -- Collinsville, Oklahoma

Collinsville, Oklahoma
April 19, 2006
VVEC Youth Tour Essay Winners
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CHS Junior Rachel Nelson Wins Trip To Washington, D.C.

(COLLINSVILLE) -- Collinsville High School junior Rachel Nelson is one of two winners in Verdigris Valley Electric Cooperative’s annual Washington Youth Tour essay contest. She is the daughter of Tim and Vickie Nelson, and a student of Mary Lykins.

Verdigris Valley Electric Cooperative (VVEC) is a rural electric cooperative headquartered in Collinsville. It provides electricity to more than 30,000 meters in Tulsa, Osage, Washington, Nowata and Rogers counties.

The annual Youth Tour contest is open to juniors attending high school in VVEC’s service territory. The two winners will join high school juniors from across Oklahoma and the rest of the nation for an all-expense paid week of site-seeing in Washington, D.C. in June. This is VVEC’s 40th year to be a participant in the Youth Tour program.

Youth Tour participants are invited to write an essay on a specific cooperative-related topic. Once submitted, the essays are then judged by a panel of persons knowledgeable about rural electric cooperatives, and the specific topic. They judge the essays on strength of ideas, style, and writing convention and grammar. The five highest scoring essays advance to the final stage of the competition.

At a banquet in their honor at VVEC’s headquarters, the five finalists give oral presentations of their essays before a second judging panel. The judges then determine which two finalists win the trip to Washington D.C. The three runners-up each receive $500 scholarships, and will represent VVEC on the Washington trip if one of the winners is unable to attend.

Nelson is a student council representative at CHS, serves on the yearbook staff, and is a member of Students Against Drunk Driving, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and CIA, along with playing in the band and on the basketball and soccer teams. She also was selected to attend Girls State. She plans to attend college after graduating from high school in 2007.

Second winner in the 2006 Youth Tour Contest, and accompanying Nelson to Washington D.C., is Melanie Allen who attends Barnsdall High School. Runners up include Briana Collins of Pawhuska High School, Kara Kerr of Owasso High School, and Daniel Hayes of Oologah-Talala High School.

“We are pleased to have these five accomplished young people representing VVEC,” says Pam Brackett, VVEC’s Youth Tour coordinator. “They are outstanding students and leaders in their schools and communities. We applaud their commitment and the hard work required to reach this final level of our Youth Tour program. They each did a fantastic job.”

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Winners of VVEC ’s 2006 Youth Tour essay contest are Rachel Nelson (left) of Collinsville and Melanie Allen of Barnsdall. Both are high school juniors. In June they will spend an all-expense paid week touring Washington, D.C. with winners of other Oklahoma electric cooperatives’ Youth Tour programs.