Published On: Wed, Aug 30th, 2017

Ribbon cutting held for new Graham County Indian Education Program building

OPEN: Officials from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Graham County Schools celebrate as Ned Long Jr. (blue shirt), Graham County Indian Education manager, and Cherokee County – Snowbird Rep. Adam Wachacha cut the ribbon on Tuesday, Aug. 29 to officially open the new building which will house the Graham County Indian Education Program. (ROBERT JUMPER/One Feather photos)

 

By ROBERT JUMPER

ONE FEATHER EDITOR

 

ROBBINSVILLE – A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Tuesday, Aug. 29 for the updated building that now houses the Graham County Indian Education Program. Formerly used as a senior center, the building has been renovated for use.

Ned Long Jr., Graham County Indian Education manager, opened the ceremony stating, “This facility was put here and constructed here for the benefit of our children, our students. Hopefully, it can continue to serve our children and the whole community, not only for this year, but for many years to come”.

Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed was in attendance and said, “What we have before us today is a completion of a process to fulfill a need that just demonstrates our continued commitment to education. If you study our history at all as Cherokee people from the time of first contact with the Europeans, one of the things that stands out about us is that we have always been committed to being highly educated. This building and our commitment to ensure that our young people and our students as they go on into college will have a strong foundation in Cherokee arts and language…I want to say thank you to everyone who had a part in this.”

EDUCATION: Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed (right) speaks during Tuesday’s ribbon cutting ceremony about the history of a commitment to education within the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Juanita Wilson, Snowbird and Cherokee County Services Division director, was also grateful for the commitment to education. “This building that we are standing in front of has been everything to this community. It has been a police department, family support services, the daycare center, and senior services; so now it is all coming together to provide a place for our youngest citizens and I am very happy that so many of you turned out.”

Angie Knight, Superintendent of Graham County Schools, noted, “I am excited to be here to see this come to fruition…to see this facility here to meet the needs of all of our students. I think you can be very proud of what Ned and his staff do. They are such a vital part of our school community and of our whole community. I know soon (this building) it is going to be filled with the laughter, love, and learning for all those students, community and families, and I am really pleased that we can enhance this program.”

The welcoming prayer was given by Alfred Welch and the closing prayer was led by Michael Rattler, then the ribbon was cut.