North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives recently announced the state’s 2020 Youth Leadership Council (YLC) 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 this year’s council activities have been cancelled at the national level, Patel and Scruggs will be invited to attend North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives’ annual meeting this spring, pending any COVID-19 cancellations or changes.
Earlier this year, both Patel and Scruggs were selected to represent their local electric cooperative on the 2020 NC Youth Tour to Washington, D.C., which was originally scheduled to be held this past June, but was later cancelled due to the pandemic. The annual tour, which brings together close to 1,800 high schoolers from more than 40 states, gives exceptional students the chance to spend a week in our nation’s capital learning about government, U.S. history and the cooperative business model, while building leadership skills and making new friends from across the state and nation.
Typically, North Carolina’s YLC representative is selected on the first day of Youth Tour by a peer vote based on a live speech competition; this year, however, the speech competition was held virtually. Patel and Scruggs were both named as representatives after tying for the most votes received from their fellow Youth Tourists, the first YLC tie in recent memory.
“I’m thrilled that we were able to recognize these outstanding students for their achievements despite the challenges posed by COVID-19,” said Paul Mott, Youth Tour coordinator for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “Congratulations to Shivalee and Alex on this honor and thank you to our Youth Tourists for making this year’s competition a success. Our Youth Tour delegates have been incredibly supportive and resilient during this time, and we appreciate their flexibility as we’ve worked to transition our tour activities to a virtual environment.”
In lieu of an in-person trip, Youth Tour has launched YTO: ShineOnLine. This weekly series hosted by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), which also sponsors the annual Youth Tour and the Youth Leadership Council, brings the vast national network of Youth Tour delegates together with engaging speakers, co-op leaders and elected officials.
NC Youth Tour delegates are also eligible to apply for two other college scholarships: the $2,500 Katie Bunch Memorial Scholarship, and the $2,000 Gwen B. Price Scholarship. The winners of those scholarships will be announced in the coming months.
Visit the In the Community section of our website to learn more about NC Youth Tour and the many other ways North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are supporting a brighter future in our state’s communities.