Local Student Awarded Scholarship in Nation’s Capital

McKinley Thomas

SOUTH PITTSBURG – McKinley Thomas, a senior from Grundy County High School, was awarded a $2,000 scholarship in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, June 12, from Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative and the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association.

Thomas was in the nation’s capital as a delegate of the 2018 Washington Youth Tour. The annual event, sponsored by Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative and the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, provides young leaders with an opportunity to explore the nation’s capital, learn about government and cooperatives and develop their leadership skills.

Students were selected for the trip by writing short stories titled “Electric Cooperatives – Going Beyond the Wires” that explain how co-ops provide communities with much more than electric power. Thomas was awarded the Robert McCarty Memorial Scholarship for having the second place story of the more than 10,000 papers submitted across the state.

McCarty was an employee of Volunteer Energy Cooperative and longtime chaperone on the annual Youth Tour. McCarty lost a battle with cancer in 2015, and sponsoring cooperatives renamed the scholarship in honor of his love for young people.

“Taking advantage of the amazing opportunity to have 900 words change my life was the greatest decision of my life. It was an honor to be a part of something so big that gives back. I am very thankful to have these amazing memories that will stay with me forever. Thanks to Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative and the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, I am the proud and grateful recipient of a $2,000 scholarship.”

“The Washington Youth Tour is a great opportunity to help students learn about public policy, cooperatives and leadership,” says Mike Partin, SVEC President/CEO. “SVEC is proud to help prepare our area’s next generation of leaders, and we are excited to see the impact McKinley will have on our community.”


Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative, a Touchstone Energy® cooperative, is a not-for-profit organization offering reliable, low-cost electricity to 35,000 members in Bledsoe, Grundy, Marion, Sequatchie and surrounding counties.

The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association provides leadership, advocacy and support for Tennessee’s 23 electric cooperatives and publishes The Tennessee Magazine, the state’s most widely circulated periodical. Visit tnelectric.org or tnmagazine.org to learn more.