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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Sequoyah Student Spends Week In Washington, Appears On C-Span
by Native American Times staff

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Sequoyah High School senior, Anna Walker and SHS College Prep Teacher Augusta Smith, recently returned to Tahlequah after spending a week in Washington, D.C., with the National Indian Education Association at the Close Up Foundation Academy. Walker was chosen as one of only five students nationally to win a scholarship to the prestigious program.

She is the daughter of Steve and JoKay Dowell Falling, of Cookson, Okla.

“The award letter said Anna was chosen because of her commitment to academics and to her community. We’re very proud of her,” said Dowell.

According to its Web site, since 1971, Close Up has provided educational programs in Washington that help students learn how they, as ordinary citizens, can play key roles in the U.S. system of democracy. Close Up is known for being fun and for positively impacting student attitudes.

“I had a great time. We were busy probably 10 hours of every day but I learned so much. It’s an experience I would recommend to all young people,” Walker said.

The Academy gives young people from across the country an inside view of the people, processes and places in the nation’s capitol. Close Up students meet with key people in government, law, business and media to gain real-world insights into how DC works. They meet with members of Congress, or their staff, discuss hot issues with policy experts and dialogue with journalists about how the media shapes policy. Students also visit DC’s many monuments and historical sites, enabling them to connect history to the roles they play in the nation’s democracy today.

Teachers also are kept busy with their own agenda of workshops and tours but also spend time involved with and observing the students they accompany to the program.

Smith said it was fun to revisit DC where she had previously lived and worked before coming back to the Tahlequah area.

“It was really a good trip. Anna did a great job representing Sequoyah. She really is a leader. I was very proud of her,” Smith said.

While in DC, Walker appeared on the public affairs program, “Close Up at the Newseum,” on C-SPAN, introducing the show’s host and guests, Native American Journalists Association Executive Director Jeff Harjo and NAJA President Rhonda LaValdo.

Produced by the Close Up Foundation, “Close Up at the Newseum” has been seen nationally since 1979 and is one of the longest-running programs involving young people in substantive discussions with expert guests.

The producers invited more than 100 students from the National Indian Education Association and the United Southern and Eastern Tribes to be in the audience and participate in the one-hour program.

Walker, who is Meskwaki, Quapaw and Cherokee, said she is even more determined to meet her post-secondary educational goals. She plans to attend one of several universities to which she has been accepted and focus on a graphic design major.

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