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January 18, 2011
Natomas school needs your vote to win $25K for arts project

By Niesha Lofing

A Natomas school is vying for a $25,000 grant to fund a project that promotes understanding and peace among U.S. and Turkish teenagers through art.

Natomas Charter School is currently in 18th place in the Pepsi Refresh contest, a monthly grant program that gives $1.3 million to fund ideas intended to make positive impacts in communities throughout the country.

The school needs to be in the top 10 in order win the funding. Anyone can vote for the project or other contenders by logging on to

Natomas Charter School has partnered with a sister school in Nigde, Turkey in an artistic exchange aimed at discovering commonalities between different cultures and promoting peace through the arts, according to a news release from the school.

The eight core values identified are individual self-expression, family, faith, opportunity for growth, education, connecting with others, helping others and peace through understanding, Chaney Briggs, a Natomas student wrote in an e-mail to The Bee.

Each value is expressed through various forms of art taught and studied at Natomas Charter - drama, dance, music and visual arts, Briggs wrote.

The first phase of the project led to the creation of a multimedia performance titled "One Voice" in last April. Ten teenagers from the Sungurbey School in Nigde traveled to Sacramento to perform with the Natomas students. This April, the second phase of the project will involve 12 Natomas students going to the sister school to conduct artistic workshops and create a performance piece for Turkish audiences illustrating the same core values.

The students also are hoping to take the performance to the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., a school news release states.

If Natomas Charter School wins the Pepsi Refresh grant, it will be used as follows: $5,000 for production and class expenses, $2,000 for promotion, $10,000 for future student exchange and $8,000 to be used for the Kennedy Center performance, according to the project proposal on the Pepsi Refresh website.

The proposed budget does not include previous trips to Turkey for planning, the travel for Turkish students to the U.S., personnel involved in the project and facility expenses, the website states.

Voting ends Jan. 31. Supporters may cast their votes online by clicking here to go to the project's page or by texting 105107 to Pepsi (73774). Standard texting rates apply.

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