2008 Young Native Writers Essay Contest A Resounding
This year marked the third annual Young Native Writers Essay Contest program, and a most successful week in Washington, D.C. for our five student winners and their teachers.
The 2008 Young Native Writers Essay Contest winning essayists and their teachers are:
Jalea Walker (Yurok,
Smith River Tolowa, Hupa, Tutuni)
The week in Washington, D.C. included a series of historical and cultural seminars led by the following individuals:
The students and teachers toured the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian with a cultural interpreter.
The group also visited the Museum's Cultural Resource Center in Suitland, Maryland, home of one of the premier facilities in the conservation field for work with Native American ethnographic and archaeological materials.
An informal reception for the winners and their teachers took place at Capitol Hill. Many thanks to U.S. Representative James Oberstar's office for hosting the reception, and to all of the staffers from various Representatives' offices who delivered greetings. Some Members brought their constituents back to their offices for photos and a meeting.
Gratitude to Steve McHugh (Holland & Knight's Washington, D.C. office) who filled-in for Congressman Oberstar while he voted on the floor.
On Thursday, June 26th, a public Honor Ceremony was held at the Potomac Atrium within the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. The ceremony was opened by Museum Director Kevin Gover. Gerry Sikorsky followed with remarks about Holland & Knight's pride in the winners and teachers.
Hundreds of onlookers from the main floor and each tier of the Museum watched and listened as the students' works were celebrated in words and music. The ceremony was followed by a reception at which Gerry Sikorsky announced the top scholarship recipient, Alyssa London of Bothell, Washington.
Kathleen Nilles (Holland & Knight Washington, D.C. office) opened her home on the Piscataway River on Thursday evening and arranged for a kayak trip for the students and teachers. The kayakers were led by professional guides who pointed out Indian lands along the way. Afterwards, Kathleen served a delicious dinner and made everyone feel at home.
During the week, the students and teachers were delighted by a trip to the Kennedy Center for an evening of laughter at a performance of Shear Madness. During the week together, they found time to visit other Smithsonian museums and also viewed several of the monuments.
Our last lunch together was held at the Hard Rock Cafe. The parting comments heard as we met this final time told us that this program must continue. "I had the most wonderful week of my life." "Thank you for inviting us into the Holland & Knight family." "I learned so much and feel so better prepared for the future."
nations of gratitude …
More photos from the 2008 Young Native Writers Essay Contest winners trip to Washington, D.C.