Jasmin Gonzalez of Blairsville, Georgia participates in Washington Tour
Miss Jasmin Gonzalez, from Blairsville, Georgia, recently participated in the weeklong 2006 Washington Youth Tour. As a representative of Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation, Jasmin joined a large group of 1,400 highly talented, ambitious young people from across the country. Two other local students represented BREMC. Miss Lindsey Allison of Young Harris and Miss Sarah Morgan of Hiawassee joined Jasmin on the tour.
For forty-one years, Georgia 's EMCs have been sending youth delegates on this tour of our nation's capitol. "They get to rub elbows with their elected officials and interact with students from all over the country." Says Rep. Brooks Coleman, Chairman of the Georgia House Education Committee and keynote speaker at the tour's kickoff banquet. "The Washington Youth Tour allows the students to see our government in action."
Coleman adds, "These students are the cream of the crop. The tour acts as launching pad for their future as leaders."
The tour included visits to of many famous landmarks including the Smithsonian Institution, the Holocaust Museum, the Jefferson Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Arlington National Cemetery, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Washington Memorial, the Kennedy Center, the White House, the Supreme Court, the Capitol Building, the National Archives, the Pentagon, and the Library of Congress.
Jasmin says, "The Nation Gallery of Art was best. I loved the paintings and statues. I could have stayed all day and stared at these great works of art."
Jasmin met lots of other young delegates while on the trip. "We made friends from all over and keep in contact by email."
Jasmin speaks fluent English and Spanish and is often asked to stand in as translator. With a 98 grade point average, she is in the top ten of her class at Union County High. Jasmin is interested in art and architecture. She says, "I look forward to being a senior but I'm not sure what I'll do when I graduate." Jasmin also runs on the girl's cross county team and plays saxophone in the band.
Jasmin was chosen to participate in the Washington Youth Tour by her counselor, Gina Donahue, after writing a paper entitled, "Why I want to go to Washington ." Jasmin said, "I was surprised and thankful for the opportunity to visit Washington . It was something I'll never forget."
Local chaperones Diane and Byron McCombs had as much fun as the teenagers. "We had a great time even though our days were packed so full that we dropped into bed at night. We take pride in being able to share this experience with our local young people." Said Byron.
Byron McCombs is the Youth Tour Coordinator at Blue Ridge Mountain EMC. He has served as a youth minister and taught middle school history. Diane teaches kindergarten and Sunday school. They have four children.
Jasmin adds, "I want to thank everyone that made the trip possible. It was an experience of a lifetime."