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East Central Electric Co-op’s Youth Tour Winner shares D.C. experience By Wesley Coburn


very spring, the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC) sponsors an essay contest for high school juniors, with the winners from most of the co-ops across the state selected to go on an all-expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. as part of the Oklahoma Youth Tour. I won one of East Central Electric’s slots, and along with Christian Pak of Henryetta, Tre McPherson of Preston, David Crosslin of Morris, Bailey Golihare of Kellyville and Bailey Ross of Warner, we met up with the other 66 kids in Oklahoma City on Friday, June 10 for a get-acquainted banquet. After a night of introductions, the trip got going Saturday morning when we left Will Rogers Airport for Baltimore – the fi rst of many new experiences we encountered. Upon landing, we explored the Baltimore Harbor, then took in Maryland’s tree-coated landscape on the hour long bus ride to D.C., where we toured the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam and Korean Memorials, and the World War II Memorial, stopping at a statue of Albert Einstein on the way.


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Sunday morning we went to Arlington Cemetery, which was a very somber and thought-provoking time. After that came the wonderment of the Smithsonians, and four hours just doesn’t cut it. However, we did see a lot of interesting things, such as Dorothy’s ruby red slippers, Kermit the Frog, the fl ag that fl ew over Fort McHenry, and the Hope Diamond. Once the Smithsonians’ time slot was completed, it was time


to board the bus for a dinner theatre near Baltimore for a performance of “Happy Days.” Then we cheered on the Mavericks back at the hotel as they won their fi rst NBA title, disposing of Miami to take the best- of-seven series 4-2.


First on Monday’s agenda was a meeting of all fi fty states’ groups, which was followed by lunch at the Hard Rock Café and experienc- ing Madame Toussaud’s wax museum, which were both very inter- esting. We snapped pictures in front of the White House, and took a quick look around Union Station before a boat cruise/dance on the Potomac River. On Tuesday we saw Mount Vernon, home of George Washington, followed by a trip to the Newseum – a museum dedi- cated completely to the news. It was an amazing place, and my favorite part of the whole trip. We also went to the Jefferson Memorial, and after some bus trouble, witnessed the Marines’ Sunset Parade.


Wednesday, the last full day of our trip, began with a tour of the Capitol building, we hurriedly rushed through the Holocaust Mu- seum, then went souvenir shopping before hitting Ford’s Theater. An- other mandatory gathering of the states was attended, and afterward the Oklahoma group had a good- bye get-together of our own at our hotel.


Continued on Page 29


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