Two Moorefield High School students will learn about the rural telecommunications industry and visit several of our country’s most historic sites during a free four-day trip to Washington, D.C., sponsored by Hardy Telecommunications.
Moorefield High School Juniors Allison Barr and Kennedie Hinger have been selected as Hardy’s students for the 2019 Foundation for Rural Service Youth Tour in Washington. The pair will spend June 1-5 in D.C., enjoying sightseeing and participating 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. More than 100 students from across the country, all sponsored by their local rural telecommunications company, are expected to attend.
Hardy typically sends one student from each of the Hardy County high schools, but for the second year in a row, no applications were received from East Hardy High students, Derek said.
“We didn’t have any applications from EHHS students again this year,” he said. “We always make sure to send one student from each school when there’s interest. We are limited to two students. Since we had two slots available, we’re happy to be able to send Allison and Kennedie, who are both wonderful candidates.”
Hardy pays all basic expenses for the students, including hotel, meals, and transportation.
The tentative 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.
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.
“There’s plenty of time for sightseeing and making new friends, but the tour also offers unique educational opportunities. The FCC has a bigger impact on our industry than any other federal agency, and the students get the chance to hear from FCC commissioners and staff. FCC decisions directly affect our ability to extend broadband to more of Hardy County and surrounding areas,” he said.
Allison wrote in her application that she would enjoy the educational opportunity offered by the tour in addition to the other aspects.
“I would like to learn more about how local telecommunications companies serve rural areas, as well as visit Washington, D.C., and meet others with similar interests from other rural areas,” she said.
Kennedie said she also looked forward to seeing so many peers from different areas of America.
“I love to travel and meet new people,” she said. “… Being able to experience this trip and all the information about D.C. … would be beneficial for my education as well.”
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.