Four exceptional high school students – representing Piedmont Electric, Randolph EMC, Roanoke Electric and Union Power Cooperative – are receiving Youth Tour scholarships. These scholarships are awarded annually to participants in the previous summer’s Youth Tour, an annual trip to Washington, D.C. sponsored by the state and nation’s electric cooperatives. Although last year’s trip was cancelled due to COVID-19, students selected to participate in the trip before the pandemic began were still eligible to apply for the scholarships.
The Gwyn B. Price Scholarship was awarded to Ashley Behringer, representing Piedmont Electric. She will receive a $2,500 scholarship to go towards her college education.
Behringer is a student at Orange High School in Hillsborough, N.C. She will attend UNC-Chapel Hill in the fall and plans to major in environmental science and become an environmental engineer or a field researcher.
The Katie Bunch Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Tyler Gupton, representing Roanoke Electric. He will receive a $2,000 scholarship to go towards his college education.
Gupton is a senior at Halifax Academy and will attend UNC-Chapel Hill in the fall to major in business and minor in aquaculture or oceanography. After college, he plans to start an aquaculture and marine life business, which would be the first in his community.
North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives also previously announced two Youth Leadership Council Scholarship Winners: Shivalee Patel, a student at Piedmont High School in Monroe representing Union Power Cooperative, and Alex Scruggs, a student at Southwestern Randolph High School in Asheboro representing Randolph EMC.
Both Patel and Scruggs will receive a $2,000 college scholarship. They will also join the ranks of previous delegates selected to represent North Carolina on the Youth Leadership Council, a national electric cooperative program that seeks to develop strong leadership, presentation and advocacy skills in young leaders. While 2020’s council activities were cancelled at the national level, all four scholarship winners will be invited to participate in North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives’ virtual annual meeting this spring.
“These students have shown incredible fortitude and flexibility in the face of difficult circumstances, and we are pleased that we could still honor their exceptional achievements even though the 2020 Youth Tour and Youth Leadership Council did not occur as planned,” said Paul Mott, Youth Tour coordinator for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives.
The 2021 Youth Tour is scheduled to be held this summer in a virtual format due to the continued challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Youth tourists will still be able to participate in a rewarding experience that brings them together with other young leaders to learn more about their government and electric cooperatives, network with their peers and strengthen their leadership skills.