By Tim Leeds
Rebecca Hilliard and her family will be leaving April 28 to fly to Washington to represent Montana in the 13th annual RespecTeen National Youth Forum, April 28 to May 3.
"I'm glad I got selected," Hilliard said. "I'm really excited to go."
Hilliard wrote a letter to Rep. Dennis Rehberg, R-Mont., asking that he support using fuel cells as an alternative energy source. A copy of her letter, part of a class assignment in Alma Seidel's eighth-grade class at St. Jude Thaddeus School, was submitted to the Lutheran Brotherhood RespecTeen competition and Hilliard was selected as the Montana representative.
Hilliard said her father, mother and sister, Larry, Vicki and Emily Hilliard, will go with her on the trip. She said there are many activities at the forum, but what she is looking forward to most is probably presenting her ideas on alternative energy sources to Rehberg and talking to him the most.
Hilliard said Rehberg sent a reply to her letter, saying that supporting fuel cells was a good idea.
Other activities Hilliard will participate in are listening to special guests and speakers, including a political lobbyist who will talk to them about communicating their messages effectively to members of Congress.
"We'll get to visit Capitol Hill, meet our legislators, see how government works," Hilliard said.
She said they worked about three weeks on the project in the class, spending a couple of weeks doing a session on how the government and how it works. Hilliard said she chose alternative energy and fuel cells because of the shortage of energy in the nation and the rising energy prices. She said she researched the issue, including using the Internet and brochures.
The Lutheran Brotherhood, a financial services organization based in Minneapolis, said in a press release that it sponsors the forum to continue to teach young teens how to take action on issues they think are important and to make positive changes in their communities, the nation and in their own lives.
St. Jude student Sunshine Morsette was last year's Montana representative to the RespecTeen forum.