Two Moorefield High School students will enjoy a free four-day trip to Washington, D.C., to tour our nation’s capital and learn about the rural telecommunications industry, courtesy of Hardy Telecommunications.
Olivia Davis and Marissa Ratliff, both MHS juniors, have been selected as Hardy’s students for the 2018 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 2-6, and about 115 students from all over the country are expected to attend.
Hardy typically sends one student from each of the Hardy County high schools, but no one from East Hardy High applied this year, Derek said.
“When there’s interest, we make sure that one student from each high school is selected,” he said. “But since we didn’t have an applicant from East Hardy High, we are able to send both Olivia and Marissa. We’re happy to offer this opportunity to two deserving students.”
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, National Cathedral, Union Station, Iwo Jima Memorial, and Mount Vernon.
Both students wrote in their applications that they are excited about the opportunity.
“I am a very adventurous person, and I feel that this is a great opportunity for me,” Olivia said.
Marissa said she looked forward to the educational possibilities.
“It would be a great learning experience at our nation’s capital,” she said.
Derek said the students will hear about the challenges of bringing modern telecommunications to a rural area like Hardy County with sparse population. The tour includes a visit to the Federal Communications Commission and question-and-answer sessions with people advocating for rural broadband in Congress.
“The tour is designed to teach as well,” he said. “The visit to the FCC is particularly important. No federal agency has as much impact on rural telecommunications as the FCC. With all of the emphasis on the need to extend broadband in rural areas, it’s the perfect time for these students to hear from FCC staff and commissioners and understand how the FCC’s actions will impact the availability of broadband in West Virginia.”
The Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) was established in 1994 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) by NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association and plays a unique role within the telecommunications industry by supporting rural telecom companies, consumers and policy-makers with educational information, products and programming.