FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                     August 18, 2008


Northwestern Oklahoma State University was well represented at the Student Leadership Conference of the National Education Association (NEA), a student program held in Washington, DC this summer. 

Pictured in front of the group’s favorite eating establishment in Washington, D.C., are (left to right), Heather Gottsch, Dr. Martie Young, Christy Wallace, LaDina Hicks and Stefani Overton.

In attendance were Knowles senior Stefani Overton, Student Oklahoma Education Association (SOEA) president; Medford senior Heather Gottsch; recent graduate, Syracuse, N.Y. LaDina Hicks; recent graduate, Lahoma, Christy Wallace, and sponsor, Dr. Martie Young, professor of education and director of student teaching at Northwestern. 

The five-day trip included leadership development sessions, election of national officers, dynamic speakers, networking and sharing of ideas.  Students also were involved in Outreach to Teach, a gathering of hundreds of student members, retired members and NEA representatives working together to improve the condition of a selected school in the area.

Three hundred fifty volunteers through Outreach to Teach joined together at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Va., to paint, landscape, clean, sweep and make other improvements to the school’s overall appearance.  Donations also were made for computers, furniture and supplies to make this a memorable event for the whole school.  Each year a school site is chosen in the vicinity of the conference. 

“Many teachers, parents and students join in the hard work and fun and many bonds are formed,” Young said.  “The appreciation from the school community is shown in many ways, and the students come home with a sense of accomplishment and feeling of making a difference in the lives of students.  It is a winning situation for all involved.”

Students also had the opportunity to sightsee in the nation’s capital.  A special tour of the West Wing of the White House was given by Young’s son, Jake Yunker.  Yunker works at the White House in the Faith Based and Community Initiative Office.

Benefits of joining SOEA include professional camaraderie and networking; in-services and learning experiences; liability insurance for the classroom and the opportunity to promote your profession.  Any Northwestern student may join and are encouraged to do so.

To learn more about becoming an SOEA member, contact Young at (580) 213-3195 or


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