Ms. Barrett goes to Washington



Katherine Klimt


A Morgan County High School junior was recently selected to attend the annual Washington Youth Tour. Mackenzi Barrett, 17, beat out six other finalists and was chosen by the tour’s local sponsor, the Jackson-based Central Georgia Electric Membership Corp., to join more than 1,200 other young students on the week-long trip to our nation’s capital. The tour allows students the opportunity to not only explore the seat of government, but also to meet one-on-one with congressional delegates.


As different electrical cooperatives throughout the country sponsor student participation in this trip, each competition is slightly different: some, like Georgia EMC’s, require a personal essay; others require stories or tests about electricity, as Barrett explained. Barrett wrote her essay about her own previous experiences traveling to Washington D.C. and her interests in politics and government.


In the interview that cinched her win, she described to the committee her extensive list of extracurriculars, including varsity soccer, drama, band, piano, the Georgia Youth Assembly (a seminar sponsored by the YMCA to educate high schoolers about government) and volunteering at the Humane Society. When asked how she worked in time for luxuries like sleep, Barrett laughed and said, “That’s what the judges said--that she has no dark circles under her eyes! I have a pretty busy schedule, but I don’t like being idle.”


Barrett has already started thinking about where she would like to attend college, and identified the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as her first choice. What she wants to study depends on where she ends up, but she said she is interested in studying law, international affairs, political science, psychology or perhaps genetics if she lands at Clemson.

When asked what she was most excited about her upcoming trip, which will take place from June 8 to 15, she pointed to her previous experience in the governor’s honors program last summer in Valdosta and said she was looking forward to exploring the capital with students of similar interests, “and seeing their perspective on what’s going on in D.C. . . . and I’ve only seen a few of the memorials and it will be interesting to get into [their] backgrounds.”


The accomplished student had parting words of advice for fellow young people with college aspirations: “Kids near my age should go out and apply for as much as they can, regardless of whether they think they can get it or not, because it looks so good going forward.”

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