Ya'at'eeh Arizona

October 07, 2011

Fall break may conjure up images of apple picking and raking leaves, but some students and facultyCommunication students with some of the books they collected for St. Michael Indian School. from Northampton Community College will trade in the view of autumn foliage for a desert landscape. They'll be participating in an intercultural exchange visit to Diné College, a Navajo community college located in Arizona. They won't show up empty-handed. The students will deliver 1,175 children's books to K-2 students at St. Michael Indian School.

It's not the first exchange between the colleges, thanks to Donna Acerra, associate professor of speech communication. The trip is part of an intercultural communications project she organized. In the past two years students from Diné have visited NCC, and vice versa. In preparation for the October visit, Acerra and her students organized a book drive to collect books for the elementary school students.

"We will not only distribute the books to K-2 students, but read with them," Acerra says. "NCC students will work with their Diné College partners to create activities the entire school can share in to celebrate literacy. Luci Tapahonso, a Navajo poet, and Miss Navajo Nation, Winifred Bessie Jumbo, will be on hand that day."

In addition, NCC students and faculty will visit Window Rock and both the Tribal CouncilSt. Michael Indian School high school students with the books donated through Headquarters and Navajo Museum. A hike into the Canyon de Chelly and a trip to Monument Valley are also planned.

If you'd like to donate a book to St. Michael Indian School, you can still do so by visiting A wish list has been created for the school in Donna Acerra's name. Choose a book and it will ship directly to the school.

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