Two local rising high school seniors thanked Hardy Telecommunications for sending them on a five-day trip to our nation’s capital, calling the tour a “learning” and “unforgettable” experience.
East Hardy High Senior Sardana Coyle and Moorefield High Senior Mallory Sisler spent May 30-June 3 in Washington, D.C., as part of the Foundation for Rural Service Youth Tour. They joined more than 100 other students from around the country. Sardana and Mallory were sponsored by Hardy Telecommunications, which paid all basic expenses.
“Experiencing an urban setting instead of a rural one was interesting, but not as interesting as visiting the various monuments and memorials the tour has to offer, and making new friends with people with similar interests and backgrounds,” Sardana said.
Mallory said the tour kept students busy, and she also enjoyed meeting youths from other states.
“The Foundation for Rural Service Youth Tour was an amazing experience,” she said. “It was remarkable how much we packed into only a few days. I feel that I was able to experience Washington, D.C., as a whole new city. Every day I learned something new about rural development. The information I learned and the friends I made will stay with me forever.”
Sardana said hearing about the lives of other students made her appreciate her education at East Hardy High School.
“Meeting with other smart teenagers from rural backgrounds opened up my eyes and made me realize that there are other people like me out there. Issues in our school are similar to issues in schools in, say, Wisconsin or Minnesota. However, I’ve learned through speaking with the friends I’ve made on the Youth Tour that our school is special. East Hardy cares for its staff and students. A lot of other schools don’t. For that, I’m proud to be an East Hardy cougar,” she said.
Sardana visited the office of W.Va. Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito and met with McKenzie Clark, a Moorefield native who works as a legislative aide in Capito’s office. Through Capito’s staff, Sardana was able to visit the U.S. Senate and watch senators debate and vote on the USA Freedom Act.
“Some more unforgettable experiences I had … were asking (Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai) about rural telecommunications, meeting a legislative aide from Moorefield, and sitting in on a senate vote, seeing famous faces in person like Senators Shelley Moore Capito, Joe Manchin (D-WV), and John McCain (R-AZ). I really appreciate the opportunity to meet important officials because it can be essential networking, especially in the political field. You never know if an acquaintance can blossom into a partnership or a friendship,” she said.
In addition to visiting the FCC and the U.S. Capitol, the group also toured Mount Vernon, the WWII, Vietnam, Korean and Lincoln Memorials, Arlington National Cemetery and the Smithsonian Museums.
Both students thanked Hardy Telecommunications for the trip and urged others to apply for the tour in the future.
“I would like to thank Hardy Telecommunications for granting me such a wonderful experience,” Mallory said. “I also hope that every rising junior in our area would apply for this learning experience!”
“I deeply appreciate the efforts of FRS and Hardy Telecommunications to educate students about social studies and telecommunications, and I am honored to have been selected as a Youth Tour participant. I recommend any bright, ambitious junior to sign up for this trip, especially if you are interested in the telecommunications business,” she said.
Established in 1994 by NTCA – the Rural Broadband 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.