OEC Awards Washington, D.C. Trips to Local High School Juniors

OEC awarded all-expenses-paid trips to six extremely talented high school juniors during the 2024 Youth Tour Banquet held Feb. 22. Justin Baker and Zoie Dunkleberger from Moore High School, Zoë Delheimer from Blanchard High School and Taehyun Hwang from Southmoore High School won a seven-day trip to Washington, D.C. on Oklahoma’s Youth Tour. The other finalists — Belinda Garvie from Tuttle and Makenzie Stone from Blanchard — won trips to Camp RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards). Both trips will occur this summer.

All applicants were asked to design a community-benefitting project, produce a short video promoting the project and write a professional letter to a leader of their choice about either their project or other public interest issues. Finalists created PowerPoint presentations and “pitched” their community projects in front of OEC trustees, senior staff, representatives from their schools, their families and three independent judges. 

“We want to support and encourage the kind of human who lends their talents and efforts to improving life in their communities,” said Tory Tedder-Loffland, OEC education and outreach programs director. “All six of these finalists qualify as amazing humans who will do amazing things in life.”

The panel of judges included The Honorable Danny Sterling, who represents House District 27, April Doshier, executive director of Food & Shelter, Inc., and Lydia Bomboy, 2017 OEC Youth Tour winner and elementary teacher at OKC Public Schools.

“I am impressed by all the applicants and their passion for service,” Tedder-Loffland said. “This contest emphasizes grassroots initiatives to affect positive change in their communities.”

As winners of the 2024 Youth Tour, Baker, Dunkleberger, Delheimer and Hwang will travel to the nation’s capital in June along with 70 of their peers from electric co-ops across the state. They will spend the week experiencing Washington, D.C.’s historic monuments and museums, meeting with Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation and making new, lifelong friends.

While at Camp RYLA, Garvie and Stone will learn improved techniques of leadership. Their enthusiasm and technique are brought back to their communities, where their positive influence impacts those around them. RYLA introduces a large number of young people and their families to the Rotary ideals of service each year. It helps bridge the communication gap between the generations and helps improve relationships among youth groups, families and the community.

“I am confident OEC will be very well represented both in Washington, D.C. and at Camp RYLA,” said OEC CEO Patrick Grace. “The board and I are happy to support programs that encourage our next generation of co-op members to dream big and become the community leaders we know they are capable of becoming.”

Oklahoma Electric Cooperative is Oklahoma’s largest member-owned electric cooperative, and OEC Fiber is the state’s largest wholly-owned broadband subsidiary. OEC provides electricity to over 62,000 accounts and broadband services to over 37,000 subscribers in seven central Oklahoma counties. The service area includes approximately 2,200 square miles with 5,600 miles of electric line and 3,900 miles of fiber line. To find out more about OEC, visit www.okcoop.org and www.OECFiber.com.

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