SAEC sends Strother, Grice to Wasington for summer
Published 3:00 am Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Pike Liberal Arts seniors Elaina Strother and Adam Grice came back from summer vacation having had a unique educational experience thanks to South Alabama Electric Cooperative in Troy.
SAEC sent Strother and Grice to Washington, D.C. in June for the 51st Annual Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, and both said it was experience they will long remember and always appreciate.
The PLAS seniors joined 45 other students from across Alabama and 1,500 students from across the nation who took part in the summer event.
The purpose of the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour is for the students to learn how the government operates and to see the impact electric cooperatives have on the legislative process.
Strother and Grice were first selected to attend the Alabama Electric Cooperatives’ Youth Tour in Montgomery based on the essays they submitted.
In researching and writing the essays, they both were impressed by how people in the rural areas worked together to bring electricity to their communities.
“The people in the cities got electricity long before those in the rural areas,” Grice said. “We’ve always had electricity, and it’s hard to imagine not having it.”
In Montgomery, the tour group visited the state capitol and met and talked with state legislators.
“We talked with some of the legislators about the issues before the legislature,” Grice said. “Two of the issues were the legalization of gay marriages and the UAB football program that had been dropped. It was interesting to hear their views.”
The 51st Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in Washington, D.C. included “everything in Washington,” Strother said.
“We went everywhere,” she said. “To the Smithsonian, all the monuments, Mt. Vernon, the U.S. Capitol, Arlington, the National Museum of the Marine Corps, and we had a picture taken in front of the White House. Of all the places we went, the place that impressed me most was Arlington National Cemetery.”
Strother said she visited Arlington when she was in ninth grade, “but this time, being there meant more.”
Grice was impressed with the guest speakers who were scheduled as part of the tour.
“The speakers were all great, but Mike Schlapp was really inspiring,” Grice said. “When he was 12 years old, his friend shot him by accident, and he was paralyzed. He overcame that to become a Gold Medal Olympian in wheelchair basketball.”
Strother and Grice said the Youth Tour provided them with opportunities to meet young people from all across the country and to form many lasting friendships.
“We took Alabama state pins that were given to us by the Alabama Electric Cooperative and exchanged them with people from just about every state,” Strother said.
Even though the students were on a whirlwind, five-day tour of the nation’s capital city, they had down time at the hotel and enjoyed two group dinners and also some dance time.
“It was an amazing experience, and I’m so thankful to South Alabama Electric for it,” Strother said.
Grice said, he too, appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the way government works and the impact of electric cooperatives in the legislative process.
“At the Youth Tour, I made memories that I won’t soon forget,” he said.
Strother and Grice said they are looking forward to their senior year with great anticipation and a little sadness.
Strother plans to attend Auburn University and pursue a career in sports broadcasting. Grice will attend Troy University to become a college professor of either English or science.