By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The Kituwah Academy, home for the Cherokee Language Immersion Program, is constantly trying to expand its services to children. A new classroom, that will serve 10 students age 1-2 years old, was officially opened on Thursday, Jan. 14.
“We welcome all of you to our family – our Cherokee-speaking family,” said Gil Jackson, Kituwah Academy Administrator. He thanked the parents and teachers for their commitment to keeping the Cherokee language alive.
Renissa Walker, Kituwah Preservation and Education Program manager, oversees the operations of the Academy which she said is currently full. They are planning to open a classroom for children ages 0-1 in approximately six months. “We had a hard time selecting these students,” said Walker who related there is a waiting list for the Academy.
She is very proud of the accomplishments made in the Immersion program and thanks the community and families for their support.
“We have a lot of nice parents and teachers and grandparents. Welcome to the family,” Walker told the new parents and students on Thursday.
Vice Chairman B. Ensley, who has two grandchildren in the Immersion program, said he is very proud of the work being accomplished at the Academy, “The whole Tribe is proud of this whole program.”
Kelly Murphy, Natalie Hill, and Michelle Wolfe will serve as the teachers for the new classroom. They have each gone through extensive training and mentoring as second-language speakers.
“I look forward to working with the babies, and I know they’ll have a good time,” said Murphy.
Jackson related that the Academy is currently taking applications for future classrooms. Applications and more information may be obtained at the Academy office.