McLouth High School student wins contest
Arthur Rollins still has one year left at McLouth High School, but that won't keep him from getting a head start on a military education.
Arthur, 17, is traveling this month to Washington, D.C., as the winner of the Leavenworth Jefferson Electric Cooperative's Government in Action youth trip contest.
He said the trip to Washington would give him an up-close look at the government he hoped to one day serve as an officer in the military.
"I want to join the military and serve my country as a leader," Arthur said. "When I get out of the military, I might want to be a history teacher."
Arthur is applying for ROTC scholarships at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and Kansas University.
He said his desire to become a military leader came from long talks he had with his grandfather, Willard Masopust, who died in 2004. Masopust served in the U.S. Army during World War II.
"My grandfather told me freedom isn't free," Arthur said. "He said we have to take care of other people and defend freedom and civil rights. He made me promise I'd do my best to become an officer before I did anything else."
The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., is a site he looks most forward to visiting.
Arthur is the 32nd student the co-op has sponsored on the trip. He will travel for a week with the Kansas delegation, which consists of 22 other Kansas high school students and chaperones.
Leavenworth Jefferson Electric Cooperative assistant manager Joseph Heinen said the trip provided an opportunity for students to learn more about government and interact with other students who share their goals.
"It's an investment in the leaders of tomorrow," Heinen said.
Arthur said he was already working on applications for other trips the local co-op would sponsor next year.
He said he thought his patriotism, enthusiasm and leadership experience had influenced the two judges who chose him as the winner. The competition challenged his knowledge of the history and benefits of electric co-ops and included a face-to-face interview.
Arthur, the son of Melvin and Paula Rollins, has been in 4-H club since he was 7. Last year, he earned the Key Award for leadership and community service in the Happy Helpers 4-H Club. In November, he attended the National 4-H Congress in Atlanta. He plays football and the baritone at McLouth High School and is a member of the National Honor Society. He also is an active member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Tonganoxie.
Michael Skaggs, Oskaloosa, also will journey out-of-state this summer as the 28th winner of the local co-op's Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp contest. He will travel to Steamboat Springs, Colo., in July. He attends Jefferson West High School and is the son of Dan and DeDee Skaggs.
Shannon Smith, Tonganoxie, was chosen as the alternate for both trips. She is the daughter of Vickie Smith.