Two local high school juniors will enjoy a four-day expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., this summer, courtesy of Hardy Telecommunications.
Hardy Marketing/Human Resource Director Derek Barr said East Hardy High School’s Parker Baranowski and Moorefield High School’s Brooke Shockey have been selected as this year’s participants in the Foundation for Rural Service Youth Tour June 2-6 in Washington, D.C.
The FRS Youth Tour is a four-day trip during which students from rural areas all over the United States have the opportunity to tour our nation’s capital and learn more about the telecommunications industry. More than 100 students typically take part. Hardy sponsors two students for the tour and pays all basic expenses, including hotel, meals, and transportation.
Parker and Brooke both represent their respective high schools on Hardy’s current Youth Advisory Board. Barr said youth board students usually become excited about the Washington, D.C., trip when they hear about it.
“We tell our Youth Board every year about the D.C. trip that we sponsor. When they learn about how much they’ll actually get to see and do, they are eager to apply,” he said.
Parker is a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Club, and Future Business Leaders of America at East Hardy, and he also runs the school’s sound system. His interests include photography and electronics. He said the opportunity to meet peers from around the country was one of the factors that drew him to the tour.
“It would be a good experience to meet other rural people and learn about rural telecommunications,” he wrote in his application.
Brooke serves as the Public Relations Officer for Moorefield High’s Spanish Club and National Honor Society and as Historian for the Student Council. She plays varsity softball and enjoys 4-H, photography and scrapbooking. She said her experience on Hardy’s Youth Advisory Board has sparked an interest in telecommunications.
“I feel that participating in this event would be a fun and rewarding experience,” she wrote. “I have learned and seen first-hand things about our local HardyNet and would like to learn more about the telecommunications industry.”
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, National Zoo, National Cathedral, Newseum, U.S. Capitol, Arlington National Cemetery, and Mount Vernon.
The tour also seeks to educate the students about the telecommunications industry and its importance in rural areas. The tour will include educational sessions about telecommunications and the governmental process. The students attend a presentation at the Federal Communications Commission Meeting Room and are able to ask questions of a commissioner about telecommunications issues affecting rural areas.
The students also get first-hand experience on the political and legislative process. Last year Hardy Telecommunications’ students met with West Virginia’s two U.S. Senators, Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, to discuss rural telecommunications.
Established in 1994 by the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association, the Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that promotes, educates and advocates rural telecom issues in order to sustain and enhance the quality of life within communities throughout rural America.