Southwest Texas Electric Cooperative Youth Tour Coordinator Neil Cooper is pleased to announce the winners of the 2023 Government-In-Action Youth Tour Interview Competition. They are Izabella Martinez of Menard High School and Seth Parker of Eldorado High School.
The two will join 160 other youths and chaperones in activities including: meeting their respective congressmen; touring the Smithsonian Institute; participating in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery; visiting Mount Vernon, the home of Martha Washington; and seeing memorials honoring presidents, heroes, and historic events important to the foundation and making of the United States. The group will watch money being printed at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and attend a stage play at the Kennedy Center. The Texans will be part of the 1,500 Youth Tour delegates in the nation’s capital participating in Youth Day activities hosted by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
The Youth Tour program was an idea suggested in 1957 by Sen. Lyndon Johnson of Texas. During remarks at the NRECA Annual Meeting in Chicago, Johnson recommended that co-ops “sponsor scholarships to send young people to the nation’s capital to see what the flag stands for and represents.” Several co-ops began on their own in 1958 to select students and chaperones, prepare an itinerary and arrange travel plans to Washington, D.C. In 1965, Texas Electric Cooperatives, the Austin-based statewide association, or rural electric cooperatives in Texas, began the coordination of the annual Youth Tour program.
Izabella is a Sophomore at Menard High where she currently participates in UIL Academics, Latin Essay, debate, One Act, and Beta Club. She is also the Class President and holds a 4.0 grade point average. Izabella is working hard on her academics because she would like to attend an Ivy League college after high school and wants to have a long career in politics and helping her community. Izabella says it will be amazing and educational to be able to walk, touch, and be a part of the things in Washington DC, but there’s one thing she is looking forward to the most. “I think I’m more excited about getting to meet and have a conversation with my United States Congressman August Pfluger in the actual United States Capitol. I feel it’s important for people my age to be engaged with what’s going on in Washington DC and this will allow me to personally do so.”
Seth Parker is a Senior at Eldorado High School and is the son of John and Lindsey Parker. While in high school, Seth has been involved in UIL Academics, Debate, 4-H, FFA, and One Act Play. He has competed in powerlifting and football for four years and was the starting Left Guard on the Eldorado Varsity Football Team this year. After graduation, Seth will be attending West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas. He plans on majoring in Environmental Engineering and Political Science. “I’m truly excited and thankful for the opportunity with this trip to Washington DC sponsored by Southwest Texas Electric Cooperative. I have a passion for Law and Politics. Just actually being in Washington DC where it all happens and seeing the monuments and buildings that I’ve heard and read about my whole life in the news or in history class is going to be surreal. I’m sure it’s going to be eye opening for me.”