Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Takoma Academy Students Accepted Into Student Diplomacy Corps

The Student Diplomacy Corps (SDC) recently accepted two Takoma Academy (TA)students into their prestigious program.
Story by Ron Mills

Janaye Dowers Picture for June Visitor Magazine 2015The SDC provides outstanding students the opportunity to travel around the world to learn more about various languages and cultures. TA is the first Seventh-day Adventist high school to have a student chosen by this eminent organization. Keith Wilkerson, senior program manager for the A Better Chance Program, which assists students in getting into the best college preparatory high schools and colleges, recommended TA to the SDC program.

Janaye Dowers, a junior, will spend five weeks in Uruguay.

“Janaye is the perfect ambassador for God and for Takoma Academy on an international exploration like this one,” says Wilkerson. “Her poise belies her years, and she will enhance the group that she will be a part of just as much as the trip will enhance her understanding of the world around her.”

Dowers is junior class president, a member of the Camerata choir and recently attended TA’s second annual Success Weekend. Success Weekend is an exclusive retreat created by Steve Silver (’71) to give TA students the tools and support to clarify and achieve their career goals.

Dowers will participate in Uruguay: Gaucho Culture—Traditions in the South of the World. The first part of her trip will introduce her to Uruguayan life and culture during several days in Montevideo, where she will see the beautiful colonial streets, eat empanadas and visit with a nonprofit organization that serves the indigent. She will spend the majority of her time absorbing the Gauchos culture—comprised of farmers and ranchers who have lived in harmony with nature for generations. She will also converse with cowboys and learn about sustainability in farming.

One reason the SDC is so selective and highly competitive is because of the sizable scholarships given to the selectees so that finances will not be a major hindrance to attending the trip. Takoma Academy and Dower’s family provided additional support.

“I feel very privileged to have been accepted to such a nationally competitive program,” says Dowers. “I look forward to growing holistically from the experience and broadening my understanding of a new culture.”

Symonne Francis PictureSymonne Francis, has also been accepted into the prestigious program and will enjoy the opportunity to travel abroad.

This month Francis will participate in Spain: The Importance of Being Basque, where she will be immersed with the Basque people who, according to SDC officials, “fiercely preserve their linguistic, artistic, economic and cultural heritage.” On a trip that promises to have a profound impact on various aspects of her development, she will learn about the links between cultural preservation and modern economics.

“I think four words accurately sum up my emotions regarding my Student Diplomacy Corps acceptance: humbled, honored, grateful and excited. … It hit me that I would not only represent TA, but also the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and I truly felt honored—not only for being selected, but also for the opportunity I am being afforded to witness,” Francis says. “I am so very grateful to Keith Wilkerson and [the] A Better Chance program for introducing this program to TA and advocating for this opportunity for TA students. Wow, what an awesome God I serve!”








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