School Programs

The Power of Human Connections

MLEC and schools working together to benefit local students.

Being a vital part of our communities is an important part of Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative’s mission. We sponsor school programs and activities for all age groups so that we can engage and encourage local students, teachers and administrators.

In this unusual school year, MLEC knows teachers are faced with unexpected challenges and are doing a wonderful job. While we would love to visit your class, we understand the safety and health of your students and our communities during COVID-19 precautions is a top priority.

For this reason, we want to offer our services in ways that best fit your needs but still allow students to interact with your community partners.

Any of our presentations or materials can be done via Zoom or left at the school. Just reach out to us so that we can discuss what works best for you. We also have program related goodies for each student. Together, we can put the power of human connections (in-person or virtually) to work!

Washington Youth Tour

Win scholarships and a trip in MLEC's Short Story Competition*!

Each year, MLEC offers a writing contest to high school juniors through English classes at their local high school. We provide a theme and materials to get them started.

Local Scholarships: The girl and boy at each high school receiving the highest score will be awarded a $1000 scholarship. Of those two students, the one with the highest score (residing with an MLEC member) also wins an expense-paid sponsorship from MLEC for the 2024 Washington Youth Tour. The overall winner from within the MLEC five-county service area (that resides in a home served by MLEC) wins the Larry Stringer Memorial Scholarship of $2000 and will also compete for additional scholarships. And, one lucky Tennessee student will be put in a drawing to win a $10,000 scholarship!


*Home schooled/private school students will be grouped with the public high school that they would attend.

2023-2024 Theme: "Electric Cooperatives Connect". MLEC Deadline: March 1, 2024 (Junior English teachers will require an earlier deadline.)

Contact MLEC Member Services at 931-729-3558 or email us to receive a resource booklet and learn more about the Washington Youth Tour.

*IMPORTANT NOTE: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our ability to take students to Washington, D.C., for the past few years. Tennessee's electric cooperatives will follow the advice of medical experts and public health officials as we plan for the 2023 Tour. If we are unable to ensure the safety of our winners, the trip will not be possible, and other prizes may be awarded in place of the trip.

Contest resources and additional information below!


MLEC Adopt-A-School Grant

Need help funding an innovative classroom program or piece of technology for your students? MLEC's Adopt-A-School Grant is here to help! MLEC offers the program to help its rural schools cope with increasing financial pressure and show its support for education. All K-12 educators working at a school in one of the five counties served by MLEC are invited to participate in the program. For 2023, three, $1000 grants will be awarded in each county. (Grants funded through partnerships and matching funds from MLEC, CoBank and TVA.)

This annual grant is intended to supplement funding of specific, innovative, classroom-level programs being carried out primarily in schools with greater fund needs. This includes multi-class projects that impact individual classroom instruction. Projects should enhance learning opportunities for students.

NEW Grant Application Deadline: Entries are due to MLEC by 4:30 p.m. on AUGUST 31, 2023. 

You can mail your application to: MLEC Member Services, P.O. Box 240, Centerville, TN 37033

For questions contact: Benjamin Armstrong, Communications Coordinator  Phone: 931-729-7220

Prizes for Posters

MLEC's annual poster contest is underway for grades K-2 and 3-5!

County division winners receive $25 and a new bicycle. Other prizes are $25 for second, $20 for third, and honorable mention winners receive $10.

Additionally, all first-place winners from within the MLEC area will compete for one overall $100 prize. Winners will be notified by mail and recognized at MLECs district membership meetings in October.

Home-school students are also eligible.



Contest Rules: 

  • The theme "MLEC Connects: When We Connect, Everything Changes" must be on the poster.
  • Deadline: MLEC will pick up posters from the school at noon on September 19 or posters can be dropped off at MLEC before 4:30 p.m.
  • Poster Size: 22" long x 14" high (half size of a standard poster board).
  • If materials are applied to the poster, they should not make it more than 2 inches thick when laid flat.
  • A completed identification tag MUST be taped or glued securely to the back of the poster in the top, right-side corner.  If a tag is not available, details can be printed directly on the poster but must include all requested information. Details to include are the student’s name, gender, parent names, address, phone number, grade, school, and teacher.  If the information is missing or incomplete, the poster will not be judged.

For more information, contact:
Vanessa Clayborn, MLEC Manager of Member Services
Phone: (931) 729-7232


School Safety Programs

MLEC is always happy to visit classrooms (or make a virtual visit) and share with students not only how electricity works, but also how to be safe around it. Presentations can be created to meet specific classroom needs. For presentations or tours (Yes, we offer those too!) email us at

Electric Junction

This live demonstration shows how safety around electricity is a must for all ages. Participants meet Neon Leon & Lightnin' Liz to see how electricity travels through the body and to the ground. It is a realistic message showing how electrical accidents happen and enforcing how they can be prevented.

Louie the Lightning Bug

Louie is a jazz singin' lightning bug who teaches elementary school kids how to "Play It Safe Around Electricity." Louie stars in a video which uses humor and songs to teach students how to prevent electric related accidents and covers staying away from downed power lines, not overloading electric outlets and more. This video is available for checkout from MLEC, or someone from MLEC will make a presentation to your class. There are also Louie goody's - stickers, coloring books, and posters featuring different points about playing it safe around electricity!

TVA EnergyRight Monsters

The adorable EnergyRight Monsters are here to show students how fun and easy it is to save energy at home with the free virtual Eye Spy Energy Kids’ Workshop. The workshop is designed for children in grades K-5 and any school or youth-serving organization in our area can join in the fun!

Want the EnergyRight Monsters to bring a free workshop to your school or youth-serving organization? Click the green link below to request a workshop, or email to learn more. We’ll contact your local power company representative to coordinate a workshop in your area.


Youth Leadership Summit

Each year two high school juniors are selected to represent Meriwether Lewis at the TECA Youth Leadership Summit in Nashville. MLEC works with school guidance counselors to select students based on their interest in government and strong leadership abilities with selection rotated among the seven high schools in MLEC's service area. The summit teaches students to grow as leaders and helps them understand the important contributions that Tennessee’s cooperatives make to our state. Students participate in leadership training and visit with their representatives from the legislature and senate. During cooperative learning sessions, the students form a mock cooperative and go through role play exercises. We're building future co-op members and future community leaders.


4-H Electric Camp

The four-day 4-H Electric Camp on UT’s Knoxville campus is open to 6th & 7th grade students. MLEC provides instructors and tuition grants to help enhance this experience for local students. They get hands-on electrical experience with activities like building a meter lamp, operating an electric vehicle, energy efficiency, safety and more!

Held in conjunction with the University of Tennessee Extension Service and local 4-H clubs, this summer camp provides educational opportunities for all attendees and a way for students to engage with their local power company.

*For tuition grant information, contact your local extension service.