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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


February 7, 2004 - Issue 106


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Tuba City's Student Ambassadors

by Rosanda Suetopka Thayer - TC District Media Team}
credits: photo 1: Samantha and Cassandra Roe; photo 2: Terrance Grey and Jessie Bilagody

As the 34th President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower sought to find new paths to international understanding in the 1950s.

Samantha and Cassandra RoeBecause his presidency found itself in the midst of looming nuclear warfare, Eisenhower explored ways to promote human relationships and world harmony. He said he wanted to bring people together by sharing experiences and appreciation of individual cultures so in 1956, he held a White House conference that would bring his idea to fruition.

Eisenhower, with the help of other world ambassadors, developed a "People to People Student Ambassador" program that would provide a three-week student exchange visit. During this time, students would visit each other's homes, attend their schools and places of worship in the hope that they would grow into more tolerant and appreciative adults coming away with a real idea of how other cultures and people lived. As a logical extension, the program hoped to prevent further destruction through shared meaningful communication, appreciation and compromise.

Six Tuba City Students have been selected to participate in the ambassador program, based on, not only their academic promise and teacher recommendations, but they must also be willing to give presentations about their experience upon return. They also must be willing to host a visiting student ambassador from a sister city.

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Youth Ambassadors candidates from Tuba City District are:

• Two students selected from the Tuba City Junior High—Alicia Tsosie, eighth grade; and Amber Williams, eighth grade.

• Four Students selected from the Tuba City High School—Jessie Bilagody, ninth grade; Terrance Grey, 10th grade; Cassandra Roe, 10th grade; and Samantha Roe, 10th grade.

Terrance Grey and Jessie BilagodyEach of these Tuba City students must raise $2,000 for the travel and stipend expenses, so a variety of fund-raisers will be scheduled to help with costs. The six students will be gone from July to August and could be sent to live with a host family in any of the nine Sister Cities that participate with the State of Arizona in this exchange program. These cities include: Catania, Italy; Calgary, Canada; Chengdu, China; Ennis, Ireland; Grenoble, France; Hermosillo, Mexico; Himeji, Japan; Prague, Czech Republic; and Taipai, Taiwan.

Program guidelines point out each of the selected ambassadors are expected to obey the laws of United States and their selected host country. Similarly they should be willing learn some preliminaries about their proposed host country, its language and customs.

Given that the Youth Ambassadors from Tuba City District are all Native American representing Navajo and Cherokee tribes, the Dwight D. Eisenhower program will benefit additionally this year by not just having American student ambassadors but students ambassadors that are truly First Americans.

For more information on how to assist these six outstanding Tuba City students raise the funds necessary to participate in this program, call the Office of Public Relations at Tuba City District at 928-283-1072.

(Rosanda Suetopka Thayer is Public Relations Director for Tuba City Unified School District.)

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