The student news site of Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Texas

Valley Ventana

The student news site of Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Texas

Valley Ventana

The student news site of Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Texas

Valley Ventana

Valley Ventana’s weekly Connections game: Week of April 22. Photo via Canva
Connections: Week of April 22
Valley Ventana, Staff • April 23, 2024
Wrestling coach Tim Clarkson was named the 5A Region IV Coach of the Year by his peers. Music by MorningLightMusic on YT
Wrestling coach named tops for Region IV 5A
April 22, 2024
Junior Sayers Allen poses for a photo at the golf region competition on April 17. Photo via SVHS Golf.
Swinging it into high gear
Grayson Cook, Staff Writer • April 19, 2024
In Comal school district, 22.0% of students are eligible to participate in the federal free and reduced price meal program, making the federal nutrition program a necessity. Photo by Annie Spratt via Unsplash.
Texas should adopt federal nutrition program
Bethany Mann, Editor-in-Chief • April 18, 2024
Olivia Fuentes will play beach volleyball at Tarleton University in the fall after signing on April 17.
Photo by Daniel Grant
Toe the sign
Alex Whelchel, Managing Editor • April 18, 2024

Charging the future

Senior to participate in Washington D.C. Youth Tour
Senior Jake McAnelly poses in front of the Pedernales Electric Cooperative building after finding out he was selected for the Youth Tour. Photo courtesy of Jessica McAnelly.

Senior Jake McAnelly will participate in the Youth Tour in Washington D.C. this June as a representative of the Pedernales Electric Cooperative.

The Youth Tour is a Texas Electric Cooperative program that sends high school students on an all-expenses paid trip to the nation’s capital where they will tour historical sites, meet local political representatives and learn about government in action.

Many students have gone on to work in public service and government,” Community Outreach Specialist for PEC Mikayla Herron said. “And we continuously hear from past participants that Youth Tour is truly life changing — whether by opening doors, creating relationships, or just showing students what’s possible. So we’re thrilled to have played a role in inspiring their futures.”

McAnelly plans to attend Texas A&M University in the fall and major in political science. He believes that the Youth Tour will give him beneficial experience in the political world.

“I’ve been to the state capitol, but I’ve never been to the federal capitol,” he said, “so I’m really interested to see how the offices work up there.”

To apply for the Youth Tour,  students must have completed their high school sophomore, junior or senior year by the time of the trip in June and have a parent or guardian who is a PEC member in good standing. The application consisted of two short answer questions and an attached copy of the student’s resume. 

“Jake’s application and impressive resume immediately stood out, as he was a perfect example of a well-rounded student,” Herron said. “Jake is studious, an athlete, a musician, a member of several diverse extracurricular activities and groups, and gives back to his community through many community service efforts.”

Last summer, McAnelly participated in Boys State where he went to the state capital and learned how the government functions.

“I enjoyed Boys State, but it was all about the election process and not much about actually writing legislation,” McAnelly said. “So hopefully I’ll see that actually happening in real time when I go to D.C.”

In addition to participating in governmental programs, McAnelly is a captain of the tennis team and National Honor Society off-campus service secretary.

I don’t know how he manages to balance his tennis schedule with his academics plus everything else that he does, but he does it,” history teacher Kesa Kemp said. “His work was always top notch and it never felt like he took the easy way out. Jake is an exceptional young man.”

McAnelly’s well-rounded resume and impressive accomplishments is what made him a perfect candidate for the Youth Tour.

“What really made Jake stand out were his leadership experiences,” Herron said. “Jake doesn’t just hold titles or positions in organizations, but he takes it to the next level by wanting to grow as a leader – through attending leadership conferences and academy programs. Jake has goals and aspirations of being a future leader, and he is on the road to making that happen.”

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