Hardy Telecommunications is sponsoring two local students for a free four-day trip to Washington, D.C., to tour our nation’s capital and learn about the rural telecommunications industry.
East Hardy High Junior Makayla Perry and Moorefield High Junior Hunter Ayers have been selected as Hardy’s students for the 2016 Foundation for Rural Service Youth Tour in Washington. The pair will enjoy sightseeing as well as participate in educational sessions about telecommunications and the governmental processes surrounding the industry, said Derek Barr, Hardy’s director of customer service and sales, marketing and human resources. This year’s tour is scheduled for June 4-8, and about 115 students from all over the country are expected to attend.
“We’re happy to send Hunter and Makayla to D.C. to meet peers from across the United States,” Derek said. “The tour has a great balance of fun activities balanced with educational sessions where the students meet with the Federal Communications Commission and members of Congress. They get an idea of the challenges faced by companies like ours trying to bring modern telecommunications to rural sparsely-populated areas, but they’re also spending a great deal of time seeing the historic sites and monuments.”
Hardy pays all basic expenses for the students, including hotel, meals, and transportation.
The agenda for this year’s FRS Youth Tour has the group visiting the Smithsonian Museums, Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, World War II Memorial, Newseum, U.S. Capitol, Arlington National Cemetery, Union Station, Iwo Jima Memorial, and Mount Vernon.
Derek said the opportunity to meet and interact with peers from across the country is a key benefit of the tour.
“It’s a chance to see what youth from rural areas have in common, whether they’re from West Virginia or Alaska,” he said.
Both Makayla and Hunter wrote in their applications that, although they have been to D.C. before, they haven’t had the time to tour the city in depth. Makayla said she was interested in interacting with students from rural areas in other states.
“I like meeting new people and experiencing new things,” she said.
Derek said the hope is that the students will bring their new knowledge back to Hardy County and work to improve the quality of living.
“Far too often it seems that federal rules are passed that leave rural areas behind or place undue burdensome regulations on smaller providers,” he said. “We’d love for these students to become activists working to ensure a level playing field for their communities.”