South Caldwell High student wins trip to Washington D.C.

Jul. 08, 2014 @ 12:01 PM

When you hear the phrase “grassroots advocacy,” you probably wouldn’t think of softball. But Molly Sims did, and it won her a six-day trip to Washington D.C.

Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corp. held a speech competition on what “grassroots advocacy” means and how it relates to Blue Ridge Electric. Sims, a rising senior at South Caldwell High School, took inspiration from her favorite sport to pull her speech together.

“I compared a grassroots advocacy to a softball team, how if like only one person is cheering on the batter, then it’s not going to help, but if the whole team is cheering, then it will help the batter more, just like if the whole company supports one thing. All the members are a vital part of the company, basically, since it’s a co-op,” Sims said.

Sims’ speech was voted as one of three best. Blue Ridge Electric awarded each student $500 and sent them on an all-expenses-paid trip as Blue Ridge’s representatives on the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Washington Youth Tour, which each year brings more than 1,500 students from across the country to Washington.

For six days, Sims went sightseeing and mingled with students from all over the country who were representing other electric co-ops. Sims said she visited memorials, attended a dance, visited Capitol Hill to talk with state representatives and attended a Washington Nationals baseball game. However, her favorite moment was seeing “The Lion King” musical at the Kennedy Center.

“It was great meeting all the people. I still talk to most of them every day. It was so fun,” Sims said.

Sims said that the trip was a “really good opportunity” and that she learned many useful skills.

“I think I learned more people skills, just like meeting strangers, that kind of thing, coming out of my shell a little bit,” Sims said.