15:35 PM

Leadership in Action

Jackson EMC delegates joined more than 1,500 high school students from across the country to learn about leadership and public service in the nation’s capital through the week-long Washington Youth Tour program, organized by the nation’s electric cooperatives. 

“The Washington Youth Tour was an amazing experience,” said Kendis Parks, a junior at Jackson County High School. “Unlike other opportunities, youth tour possessed a degree of diversity like no other program I have attended. Delegates from across Georgia and almost every state in the country had different interests and backgrounds.” 

Jackson EMC has been sending high school delegates to Washington, D.C. since 1971. Delegates are selected based on academics, community service, oral and written communication skills, letters of recommendation and a personal interview.

Students visited the National Archives, Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, Mount Vernon, the Smithsonian museums and more. Youth tour delegates also met with members of the Georgia congressional delegation at the U.S. Capitol.


Kendis Parks 
Jackson County High School

What was your favorite activity on the tour? 
“Every day of the Washington Youth Tour there was something to look forward to. From our visit to the Pentagon and the 9/11 Air Force Memorial to the Sunset Parade at the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, each day was always informative and inspiring to me. My favorite was touring the National Archives, which gave me a deeper understanding of our democratic nation that extended way beyond what I would ever learn in a classroom.” 

Has your participation in the tour reshaped your decisions for a future career path? 
“If someone asked me about my dream profession before the tour, I'd say I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon. While in Washington, D.C., I was exposed to the breadth of available career options. I’m now considering a career in health care law or in the state legislature.” 

Activities: Beta Club, National Honor Society, Key Club, Environmental Club, Junior Leadership Jackson, competitive rowing, volunteer tutor with Elevation Education and founder of Parking Radon, an initiative to raise awareness for radon detection in homes


Luke Winter 
Greater Atlanta Christian School 

Tell us about your experiences meeting other student leaders from across Georgia and the U.S. 
“The group I was around bonded very quickly with students from all over the state and even other states. We have been able to stay in touch via social media and hope to see each other soon.”

What was your favorite activity on the tour? 
“My favorite activity on the tour was the Holocaust Museum. It was very powerful and will leave an impact on me for the rest of my life.” 

Activities: Beta Club, National Honor Society, competes on the varsity baseball team, volunteer with Bears Makes a Difference and founder of Share Table, an initiative in Gwinnett County schools to address food insecurity.


Lanier Ashley 
Jefferson High School 

What was your most memorable experience on the tour? 
“Pin trading and talking at meals. I love the little things with people, like meeting people from all over the nation! I loved hearing about everyone’s background and connecting it to my own life. The conversations and friendships that I made were by far the most memorable and impactful experience of the tour.” 

Has your participation in the tour reshaped your decisions for a future career path? 
“It has solidified my decisions. I love law and seeing how I can use it to help the people around me, so I knew that’s why I wanted to pursue being a lawyer. However, the tour helped me become sure of this path. After hearing from the representatives and senators about helping people, I knew I wanted to do the same thing for the people in my community.” 

Activities: Future Business Leaders of America, Varsity Academic Team, Beta Club, Mu Alpha Theta, Principal’s Leadership Council, 
Junior Leadership Jackson, plays clarinet in wind ensemble, plays trombone in jazz band, serves as drum major for Dragon Regiment 
marching band and volunteer with Total Person Program.


Orit Endalk 
Archer High School 

What was your most memorable experience on the tour? 
“Meeting Congresswoman Lucy McBath, as I was the only student representing her district [to meet her]. I had some one-on-one time with her, and she was amazing! She was so laid back and nice. She reassured me that if I ever needed anything, she would always be there.” 

What lesson(s) did you learn on the tour that will serve you best in life? 
“The most important lesson the tour taught me is that I can do anything I put my mind to. The tour allowed me to meet other amazing kids my age from across America who were interested in many different things. This, along with a speech from Congressman Buddy Carter, made me realize one thing: We all became delegates because of the hard work and determination we had. With this hard work and determination we have, we can, in the Congressman’s words, ‘become the future leaders of America.’” 

Activities: FCCLA, FFA, Mu Alpha Theta, Science National Honor Society, plays violin in orchestra, plays piano, competes on variety tennis team, and founder of Fiction Writing Club at Archer.

For more information, visit jacksonemc.com/wyt.