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Safe Travel Road Essay Contest

Last November, at a Safe Routes newsletter meeting, staffer Taylor Sutton had a terrific idea. She thought why should boring adults be writing all the articles? We should have a student essay contest!

In our Winter issue, we asked for students to submit essays of 100 words or less describing why it is fun to walk or bike in the rain. We received many well-written essays from students all over Portland. Our panel of judges enjoyed reading all of the essays and struggled in selecting the top essay (which will be published in the Spring 2010 issue of our newsletter). We've decided to publish all our Honorable Mentions here on our blog so that everyone can enjoy them. We'll be posting one Honorable Mention a day up until our grand winner is announced.

Congratulations to all those who participated. We hope you'll agree that the future of walking and biking in Portland is bright!

Without further ado, Honorable Mention #1:

I always walk to school. Sometimes I bike but I always go by my grammas houses. We wave and say hi. Our Neighborhood is very quiet so it makes a great place to live.


The reason I walk and bike is I live very close, enough to walk and bike. The best part is I get to class early and extra work done. But the real reason it is so much fun.


Walking may seem boring to some people but I find it relaxing to talk and walk to school. After Joel [a Bicycle Transportation SR2S Ambassador] came into class for bike safety now riding my bike to places is super fun.



Elyse Castles


P.S. Walking and Biking saves Gas.

Elyse Castles, 5th grade, Rieke Elementary

Write an essay:

Win a Trip to Washington, D.C.

Plans are underway for the 2017 Youth to Washington Tour and Essay Contest.  The tour is scheduled for June 10 - 16 with an orientation meeting in Great Falls on June 9.  Airfare from Great Falls to Washington, D.C., is paid along with lodging, meals and admission to events.  Contest rules are:

  • The student must be a junior or senior in high school in the fall of 2017.
  • The student cannot be a prior winner of the youth tour.
  • The student and/or parent or guardian must be served by a rural electric cooperative that is a member of the Montana Electric Cooperatives’ Association.
  • The student must write an essay of 400 words or less (double spaced) on the topic:"Why should I be chosen to represent Fergus Electric Cooperative on the 2017 Youth to Washington, D.C. tour.

Essays should include a cover page with the student’s name, address, telephone number and the cooperative’s name.  Essays and applications are due December 2, 2016.  Mail them to: Youth Tour Essay Contest, Fergus Electric Cooperative, 84423 US Highway 87, Lewistown, MT  59457.

This application form must accompany the essay. It is also available on the MECA website at www.mtco-ops.com under the youth tab. The 2017 Youth Tour Complete Resource Guide provides more information in regards to this contest.

Montana Electric Cooperatives’ Association in Great Falls selects a state winner and Fergus Electric also sponsors a student.  For additional information, contact Vangie at 538-3465.

Previous Winner

Each June, 25 Montana high school juniors and seniors go to Washington, D.C. as young ambassadors for rural electric cooperatives. Representatives are selected by writing an essay on a specific topic. Information and the topic will appear on this page in October and in the Fergus Features newsletter in Rural Montana at the same time. The winner for 2017, Alyssa Thomas of Hobson, wrote on the topic: "Why should I be chosen to represent Fergus Electric Cooperative on the 2017 Youth to Washington, D.C. tour."

Alyssa Thomas


2017 Winning Essay 

There are many different reasons why I should be selected to represent Fergus Electric Cooperative on the 2017 Youth to Washington D.C. Tour. This would be a great opportunity for me to see and live the history of my country through monuments and museums in Washington D.C., to learn about the importance of coops, and also to develop a better understanding of the history that we don't see everyday in rural Montana.

In the past,  I have not enjoyed history because I was just like the average student who thought it was "boring." However, after reading about this tour I’ve realized that history is very important and also how much more exciting it would be to see these monuments in person rather than in a text book. I mean, who wouldn’t enjoy learning about our country in Washington D.C.?

Learning about history can be much more exciting than we think. In my opinion, this trip to Washington D.C. would open my eyes to how important history really is. History, in my opinion, is what makes us well rounded people. Without history, we wouldn't know how America got to where it is or about any of the great events that have happened in or prior to our lives. Without the knowledge, we have today we might not be a world leader.  Going on this tour would further educate me to those events, and make me appreciate our country even more than I already do.

Although learning about our country is the biggest reason that I would enjoy being selected for this tour, learning more about the importance of our Rural Electric Cooperatives would be the second reason. Without Electric Cooperatives, our lives wouldn't be the same and this trip wouldn’t be possible. They help millions of people (including us) everyday by providing us with safe and affordable energy.

In conclusion, I believe that I should be selected for this tour because it would be very beneficial to learning about the country in which I live. Without historical events, the world would be much different than it is today. We need history in our daily lives and learning about it in Washington D.C. on this tour would make it a memorable experience of learning about history itself.

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