Hardy Telecommunications has named two local students that it will sponsor for a free four-day trip to Washington, D.C., to tour our nation’s capital and learn about the rural telecommunications industry.
Moorefield High Junior Hannah Weatherholt and East Hardy High Junior Clayton Strawderman have been selected as Hardy’s students for the 2017 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 3-7, and about 115 students from all over the country are expected to attend.
“This is a rare opportunity for Hannah and Clayton to get an extensive tour of D.C., meet members of Congress and the Federal Communications Commission and become friends with peers from all over the United States,” Derek said.
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.
Hannah wrote in her application that what she’s read about the tour motivated her to apply.
“It appears to be fun, exciting and educational. I believe I would enjoy making new friends from across the country while learning about our nation’s history and how the telecommunications industry has developed in our country,” she said.
Clayton, whose father Derrick is an outside plant employee at Hardy Telecommunications, said he was interested to find out more about the other parts of the industry.
“I have heard about one side of the telecommunications industry from my father and his work with it. I am curious to know about the varied aspects of the entire field of it. I may well be looking for a job in this area in the near future,” he said.
Derek said the students will hear about the challenges of bringing modern telecommunications to a rural area like Hardy County with sparse population.
“It seems like the federal rules often are geared toward bigger companies and urban areas,” he said. “Rural areas get left behind or are burdened with regulations designed for major national providers. The Youth Tour shows students how we struggle to ensure that small rural providers get the same benefits and opportunities as urban areas.”