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Savage's Soda Rice Heading to Washington, DC


Soda Rice

Savage High School sophomore Soda Rice will be heading to Washington, DC, for a week this June to represent Lower Yellowstone Rural Electric Cooperative on the Youth Tour.

The Electric Cooperative Youth Tour program has convened high school sophomores and juniors in Washington, DC, for more than 70 years. Students are selected by their local electric cooperative to gather together and learn the importance of electric cooperatives to their communities, in addition to touring the nation's monuments and meeting elected officials. The trip is fully funded by the Cooperative, and winners are selected based on their answers to an essay prompt. This year, the prompt asked students to defend why they should be chosen to represent the Cooperative.

Soda was encouraged to submit an essay by past winners and fellow Savage Warriors Trey Bloesser and Owen Nelson. "I went to Great Falls with Trey's family, and he said it was cool to go to the meeting and he was really excited about it and he said I should really apply. Owen had nothing but good things to say, too. They were very supportive and encouraging," Soda said.

She submitted an essay that explained her background in the community, how she was involved in school activities, and what a great experience it would be to attend the tour. "A small town has a lot to offer but to be able to go out and see the urban environment would be nice. I wanted to experience city life and how great it is to talk to people of different cultures. 1700 kids get to go so you get to meet so many people," Soda said of the opportunity. Soda was selected as the first-place winner.

Soda will meet up with more than 20 other students from around Montana in Great Falls later this spring, and head to Washington, DC, in June, for a week. There, she will tour the nation's monuments, as well as other cooperatives. Though this is not the first time she has been away from her family, it is the first time she will be quite so far away, but wasn't nervous about the prospect. "I have faith that the chaperones will take good care of us," she said.

In addition to exploring the monuments and learning about cooperatives, Soda said she is "most excited about meeting new, life-long friends. I'm really excited to learn, and I'm excited to meet people and keep in touch with them for the next thirty years".

Though this will be her first activity with the Cooperative, she is grateful for the opportunity, and she said, "It's really amazing how involved the Cooperatives are with teens". In addition to the trip, Soda received a $1000 scholarship for college, sponsored by Lower Yellowstone REC.

Currently, Soda participates in volleyball, track, and basketball, and is active in 4-H year-round. In the summers, she works on her grandparents' ranch and is a hostess at the Rod Iron in Sidney. Though she has no set plans yet for college, she hopes to pursue a basketball scholarship. Soda is the daughter of Park Rice, Sidney and Staci Rice, Savage.


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