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S.C. high school students go virtual+ this summer, compete for $5,000

Eighty rising high school juniors and seniors will participate in this summer’s Virtual Youth Experience, a week-long conference that brings together high-achieving students from across South Carolina to meet with state and federal leaders.

The Virtual Youth Experience, sponsored by South Carolina’s electric cooperatives, began last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic when in-person meetings were cancelled for safety reasons. This year’s experience will be a hybrid model with the first four days, June 21-24, taking place virtually and the final day, June 25, taking place in person at Fairfield Electric Cooperative in Blythewood.

Speakers during the week include Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Tim Scott, Rep. Nancy Mace and S.C. State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell. Governor Henry McMaster will address the group during their in-person session on June 25 at 11 a.m.

In addition to hearing from influential speakers, the students will spend the week in teams learning how to create and produce audio podcasts that complete the sentence: This is my country…. A group of S.C. journalists will judge the podcasts and award $5,000 college scholarships to each student in the winning group. Judges include Kenneth Moton, national correspondent for ABC News; Cindi Scoppe, editorial writer for the Post and Courier newspaper; Lucas McFadden, anchor for CN2 News in Rock Hill; Dawndy Mercer-Plank, anchor for WIS-TV in Columbia; and Ben Hoover, anchor for WSPA-TV in Spartanburg.

The 80 participating students represent 17 electric cooperatives in South Carolina.

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