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Trip to D.C. was educational

Staff writer

Visiting Fort McHenry, where a War of 1812 battle inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner,” was a highlight of Centre student Karsen Kroupa’s all-expense-paid, eight-day trip last week to Washington, D.C.

He returned Thursday from the trip, which he won in a competition sponsored by Flint Hills Rural Electric Cooperative. The utility serves much of rural Marion County.

Karsen joined 26 others sponsored by Kansans cooperatives in Topeka and flew out of Kansas City. They were accompanied by four youngsters from Hawaii, four chaperones, and two youth leaders.

He had a choice of going to a camp in Colorado or to Washington.

In Topeka, group members toured the state Capitol and met several politicians.

In Washington, they rode in a chartered bus to the White House, Capitol Hill, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and Mount Vernon, home of George Washington. They also saw a baseball game.

Karsen talked to Senators Jerry Moran and Roger Marshall.

Along the way, the group learned how electric cooperatives serve communities at home and abroad.

Sometimes, employees travel to other countries to help rural towns connect to electricity from larger municipalities.

Karsen will receive a $500 scholarship from Flint Hills Electric when he graduates from Centre next spring.

His trip was organized by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and included students from almost every state.

Karsen wasn’t sure he wanted to make the trip.

“I didn’t feel comfortable about being with a lot of strangers,” he said, “but after the first day, I liked it. It was really fun.”

He encourages other students to apply. Scholarships are available to high school juniors.

“It’s a great trip,” he said.

Last modified June 29, 2023

 

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