Palmetto's winners

Kaia Bishop (left) and Sawyer Blakeley Costello are our 2023 winners.

Hilton Head, SC – The Electric Trail, by Kaia Bishop and Sawyer Blakley Costello, was selected as one of the statewide winners of the 2023 Children’s Book Challenge. Sponsored by EnlightenSC—an educational initiative of the state’s independent, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, the competition challenges 4th and 5th grade students to write and illustrate stories that focus on the impact of electricity in their lives, communities and the state.

Bishop and Costello, both fifth-graders at Hilton Head Island Elementary School for the Creative Arts, were surprised when representatives from Palmetto Electric Cooperative announced they had won the statewide award at their school. The two will split the contest’s $500 cash prize and their teachers, Jennifer Friend-Kerr and Alexandria Holland will each receive a $100 prize.

“The judges were impressed with the quality of both the story and illustrations Kaia and Sawyer created for their book,” said Missy Santorum of Palmetto Electric Cooperative. “They are both gifted artists and writers and we are pleased to be able to recognize and reward their work.”

The Electric Trail follows main characters Chloe and Cameron, lost during a school field trip, to an abandoned cabin. There they use their knowledge of electric cooperatives to find their way back to their classmates.  The Electric Trail, which was also selected as a regional winner by their local co-op, Palmetto Electric, will be published and distributed to elementary schools throughout the state this summer.

South Carolina’s electric cooperatives have been committed to powering rural communities since 1938. This concern for communities, and the future of our youth, has carried forward to today. By inspiring students to learn more about energy in our state, S.C.’s electric co-ops hope to spark a passion for critical thinking in the minds of tomorrow’s leaders.