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PUBLISHED: 4:49 PM on Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Sponsor-a-child program, fundraising efforts held for Glacier Valley Elementary students
Students at Glacier Valley Elementary School have been given a performance opportunity of a lifetime, and along with parents and volunteers, theyare working hard to make it a reality.

As this yearas recipient of the Kennedy Center Creative Ticket National School of Distinction Award, Glacier Valley Elementary School has been selected and invited to perform at the Kennedy Center and the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian on March 14-15.

To get students to their destinations, significant funds are needed. The Glacier Valley Parent Group is joining heads and hands to raise $65,000 to make the trip possible for students, who could not afford this educational opportunity otherwise.

"This highly competitive award recognizes schools that have done an outstanding job of making the arts an essential part of the education of their students. Only four other schools in the United States share this yea'as award, and Glacier Valley is the first school in Alaska ever to be honored," said the Glacier Valley Parent Group.

Thirty-four fourth- and 5fifth-grade students hope to travel and perform "Tides and the Tempest," a play adapted by Alaskan playwright David Hunsaker. The play intertwines Shakespeare's "The Tempest" with the traditional Tlingit story of Naatsilanei's creation of Keet Shagoon, the killer whale, representing the culture of the Tlingit people.

Local artist Ryan Conarro directed the original production and will direct a new group of Glacier Valley students who will perform at the Kennedy Center.

"Our school would like to bring to Washington, D.C. the prevailing messages of "Tides & the Tempest: intercultural awareness, shared human values, and universal cooperation and forgiveness," the Parent Group said.

By accepting the Kennedy Centeras invitation, Glacier Valley Elementary will be able to honor the diversity of our school, the Juneau community, and the state of Alaska, they said.

"I think bringing a culture that is very familiar to them that isnat as familiar down south. We live and breathe it in this community, and I think they will be so proud to bring something so rich to our capital," said music teacher and librarian Lorrie Heagy, who is also working diligently on the fundraising projects.

"The deep part of it is sharing something so significant and representing the native culture of this state. We think weall be very proud to sort of broaden the importance of our heritage," she said.

"It shows the shared values of two very different cultures and I think the fact that our cast is a shared culture (is significant). There are universal values that cut across all cultures, and this play represents those values."

The cast is 38 percent Alaska Native, 12 percent Asian, 38 percent Caucasian and 12 percent Pacific Islander.

"Our kids come from very diverse backgrounds and see the importance of bringing it across the country to a group of people who may have never heard of Tlingit culture," Heagy said.

Currently, the school has raised $23,000, but still have a long way to go.

"A good portion has come from the Sealaska Heritage Institute, ($10,000); weare very appreciative of that gift," she said.

Alaska Parks and Recreation has also contributed $5,000, which they are thankful for as well, she said.

A"The rest has been lots of bake sales and those seem to be the most effective, weave been selling calendars, holiday CDS and T-shirts."

We're presenting in front of the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, (other) clubs and asking businesses to sponsor a child for $1,500, Heagy said.

"Many of our families are not able to afford a trip like this. It's such an honor to be the first school in Alaska to receive this national award. We hope that not only Juneau participates but also other communities in Alaska," she said.

Another organizer includes Melissa McCormick, of Creativation Events and Rentals, whoas been working on community events and inputting her talents to get money raised for the students. She's also a member of the Glacier Valley Parent Group.

Events organized vary from fundraising dinners to an innovative event called "Can You Cycle Faster than a Fifth Grader."

"People that sponsor a child will receive post cards from the child while we are on our trip in Washington DC as well as free admission for two of the local performances that we will be giving," McCormick said.

"Our hope is to get as much of the fundraising done by January, because thatas when we need to pay for the cost of the tour and tickets," Heagy said.

Another exciting event is the Polynesian luau, organized by sister-in-laws Kueni Maake, Irene and Vaisiu Tupou. The luau will take place on January 26 at 5 p.m. at the Tlingit and Haida Community Council Building. Tickets will be $30 for adults, and $10 for children ages 10 and under.

"Dinner will be provided along with a Polynesian dance show; there will be some kids from different families and children of the community," said Irene Tupou.

Delicious treats include a traditional Kalua pig dish.

"I think we have a very large Polynesian community here and we enjoy putting on performances; people will enjoy the food and enjoy the show," she said.

It is for a good cause to receive this distinguished, and weare honored that they selected our school,a Tupou said.

As part of the sponsor-a-child program, different price levels are offered ranging from local to national, she said.

Another key contributor is Tammy Chappell, who is an integral part of the gift from the Heritage Institute, Heagy said.

Chappell will be making a large portion of the costumes for the performance, which will be very much in Tlingit regalia. One costume will be given to the Smithsonian, and the rest will be auctioned off.

"They're (students) very excited; we get the sense that they donat understand the magnitude of what this means," Heagy said. But when they are walking through the Smithsonian and performing and they'll know, she said.

"This is just something very special and they are making history and advocating arts in their school and inspiring others," Heagy said.

As Glacier Valley Elementary is a title one school, most schools who win are high schools and charter schools.

"We hope the message is that anyone can do this," she said.

For more information on how to sponsor a child contact: Lorrie Heagy at 463-1801 or e-mail heagyl@jsd.k12.ak.us.

Another organizer includes Melissa McCormick, of Creativation Events and Rentals, whoas been working on community events and inputting her talents to get money raised for the students. She's also a member of the Glacier Valley Parent Group.

Events organized vary from fundraising dinners to an innovative event called "Can You Cycle Faster than a Fifth Grader."

"People that sponsor a child will receive post cards from the child while we are on our trip in Washington DC as well as free admission for two of the local performances that we will be giving," McCormick said.

"Our hope is to get as much of the fundraising done by January, because thatas when we need to pay for the cost of the tour and tickets," Heagy said.

Another exciting event is the Polynesian luau, organized by sister-in-laws Kueni Maake, Irene and Vaisiu Tupou. The luau will take place on January 26 at 5 p.m. at the Tlingit and Haida Community Council Building. Tickets will be $30 for adults, and $10 for children ages 10 and under.

"Dinner will be provided along with a Polynesian dance show; there will be some kids from different families and children of the community," said Irene Tupou.

Delicious treats include a traditional Kalua pig dish.

"I think we have a very large Polynesian community here and we enjoy putting on performances; people will enjoy the food and enjoy the show," she said.

It is for a good cause to receive this distinguished, and weare honored that they selected our school,a Tupou said.

As part of the sponsor-a-child program, different price levels are offered ranging from local to national, she said.

Another key contributor is Tammy Chappell, who is an integral part of the gift from the Heritage Institute, Heagy said.

Chappell will be making a large portion of the costumes for the performance, which will be very much in Tlingit regalia. One costume will be given to the Smithsonian, and the rest will be auctioned off.

"They're (students) very excited; we get the sense that they donat understand the magnitude of what this means," Heagy said. But when they are walking through the Smithsonian and performing and they'll know, she said.

"This is just something very special and they are making history and advocating arts in their school and inspiring others," Heagy said.

As Glacier Valley Elementary is a title one school, most schools who win are high schools and charter schools.

"We hope the message is that anyone can do this," she said.

For more information on how to sponsor a child contact: Lorrie Heagy at 463-1801 or e-mail heagyl@jsd.k12.ak.us.


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