Cooperative University – 2023

Singing River Electric hosted its Youth Leadership Program Cooperative University at its Lucedale office on October 19, 2023. All high schools within Singing River Electric’s service territory were invited to nominate one member of the junior class to represent the school. Student nominees were required to have a minimum 3.0 grade point average, be involved in extracurricular activities, be active in civic and community activities, and receive electricity from Singing River Electric.

During Cooperative University, students were encouraged to get to know each other through networking activities, learned about the cooperative form of business, and took a closer look at how Singing River Electric provides power to its members and restores power after an outage. They also learned about SRE’s fiber internet subsidiary, Singing River Connect, and the process for bringing broadband to residents.

A legislative panel discussion driven by student questions was the highlight of the day. Secretary of State Michael Watson, Senator Chris Johnson, and Representatives Manly Barton, Charles Busby, and Dale Goodin answered questions about the legislative process and why they decided to run for office.

Each student also participated in a 10-minute interview moderated by a panel of out-of-town judges from electric cooperatives across the state. Based on the student interviews and participation throughout the day, Makayla-Jade Mendez (Pascagoula High School), Vicky Vo (St. Martin High School) and Riley Tingle (Perry Central High School) were selected to attend the 2024 Cooperative Leaders Workshop in Jackson in February and Youth Tour of Washington, D.C. in June.

For more information about the Youth Leadership Program, visit