Moorefield High Junior Mallory Sisler and East Hardy High Junior Sardana Coyle have been selected as Hardy’s students for the 2015 Foundation for Rural Service Youth Tour in Washington, D.C. The pair will enjoy sightseeing as well as participate in educational sessions about the 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 May 30-June 3.
“Mallory and Sardana are both deserving students, and I’m sure they’ll have a terrific time on the tour,” Derek said. “I didn’t know them before they applied for the trip, but both completed an interview process and showed a keen interest in learning about how national legislative actions impact telecommunications in rural areas like Hardy County.”
The FRS Youth Tour is a four-day trip during which students from rural areas all over the United States have the opportunity to tour our nation’s capital and learn more about the telecommunications industry. More than 100 students typically take part. Hardy sponsors two students for the tour and pays all basic expenses, 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, National Cathedral, Newseum, U.S. Capitol, Arlington National Cemetery, Iwo Jima Memorial, and Mount Vernon.
Derek said the opportunity to meet and interact with peers from across the country is a key benefit of the tour.
“It’s a chance to see what youth from rural areas have in common, whether they’re from West Virginia or Alaska,” he said.
Mallory wrote in her application that she was eager to learn how to positively impact rural areas.
“Participation in this youth tour would enhance my leadership skills and my understanding of how I can help my rural community. My generation is the generation of change for rural communities. The opportunity to learn about the governmental process and change in rural life would help build my background knowledge as I wish to become an environmental attorney,” she wrote.
Mallory said she believed strongly in citizenship and serving others.
Sardana wrote in her application that she was interested in observing the city environment, particularly the center of United States government.
“I wish to participate in the Youth Tour because I would like to experience an urban setting as compared to our rural home, to learn more about the U.S. legislative process and other government practices, and to see and experience the effect telecommunications has on our nation’s capital,” she said.
Derek said the students spend a lot of time sightseeing, but the tour also is educational. The students visit the Federal Communications Commission and get a chance to ask questions about issues important to rural telecommunications providers like Hardy.
“More and more of the rules and regulations coming out of Washington threaten to further expand the rural/urban divide when it comes to technology and the telecommunications industry,” he said. “The ideal thing would be for one of these Youth Tour students to take up the cause of representing rural areas to our national leaders, because it is the future generation that will be impacted the most.”
Established in 1994 by NTCA – the Rural Broadband Association, of which Hardy is a member, 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.