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Electric Co-ops award $16,000 in scholarships to Tennessee students

2023 Robert McCarty Scholarship winners 3rd place, Claire Townley, Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative; 2nd place, Cole Coffman, Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation; 1st place, Livia Benefield Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tennessee’s electric cooperatives awarded $16,000 in scholarships to Washington Youth Tour delegates on Monday evening, June 19, in Washington, D.C.

Ernee Webb, a senior from Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation was awarded a $10,000 Cooperative Youth Ambassador Scholarship. Webb was a 2022 delegate on the Washington Youth Tour. Delegates who remain engaged with their sponsoring cooperative during their Senior year and complete certain community service requirements are eligible for the scholarship. Webb’s name was randomly selected from among the 25 delegates from across the state who completed the requirements.

Livia Benefield from Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative, Cole Coffman from Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation and Claire Townley from Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative were awarded $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 Robert McCarty Memorial Scholarships for having the first, second and third place papers of the thousands of papers submitted across the state for this year’s contest. McCarty was an employee of Volunteer Energy Cooperative and long-time chaperone on the annual youth tour. McCarty lost a battle with cancer in 2015, and sponsoring cooperatives renamed the scholarship in honor of his love for young people.

Hannah Stokely, a delegate from Holston Electric Cooperative, was selected as Tennessee’s representative on NRECA’s Youth Leadership Council. Stokley will attend NRECA’s 2024 PowerXchange meeting in Austin, Texas.

One hundred and twenty-eight high school Juniors from across the state are in the nation’s capital this week for the 2023 Washington Youth Tour. The annual event teaches students about public policy, history, leadership and electric cooperatives. The tour is coordinated by local electric cooperatives, the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

“Investing in these young people not only nurtures their potential but is an investment in the future of rural and suburban Tennessee,” said Mike Knotts, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “It is exciting to consider the impact that these talented young people will have on their communities, and electric cooperatives are honored to support their academic journeys.”

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