On Stage In Natomas: Performance Goes On

Nigde, Turkey – Ninth-grader Rumeysa Aruk, 15, died in a car accident on March 23, on her way home after receiving her visa to come to the United States to participate a cross-cultural celebration with students at Natomas Charter School.
Rumeysa was one of 10 Turkish students from the Sungurbey Academy in Nigde, Turkey who had been selected to perform in an original collaborate performance that showcases dance, music, artwork, and theatre with Natomas students.
The mission of the “One Voice” project is artistically illustrate eight core values that American teenagers found they share with Turkish teenagers and promote insight and understanding across all ethnicities and cultures.
Rumeysa and two other Turkish students did not receive a visa the first time they applied and had been overjoyed to finally get their visas on their second trip, when in an ironic tragedy, they were involved in a fatal car accident on their drive from Ankara, the capitol city of Turkey and their hometown of Nigde. Rumeysa died of her injuries and another student, Damlanur Onat, remains hospitalized.
Despite their grief and the loss of their friend, the remaining 8 students are determined to make their trip to Sacramento and participate in “One Voice.”
“We come to represent Rumeysa” said Hüsna Avşar, a friend and student at Sungurbey.
“The Natomas Charter School community is devastated by this news. We have lost a part of our extended family,” said Ting Sun, Educational Programs Director at Natomas Charter School, who initiated the “One Voice” project after her trip to Turkey and visit to the Sungurbey Academy in 2008. “It is courageous of our Turkish friends – the students, parents and teachers – to make the journey here for the project despite this tragic loss.”
In 2009, a dozen educators from Natomas Charter visited Sungurbey Academy in Nigde, Turkey to liaison and plan for this year’s transfer program. Visiting Turkish students will be housed by host families for several weeks during the run of the performances, and will perform two songs and a traditional Turkish folk dance.
The “One Voice” Performance will run from April 22 through May 1, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, at 7 p.m. each night. Performances will be held at the state-of-the-art Benvenuti Performing Arts Center on Blackrock Road.
Special events include a Post Show Discussion with the Cast on April 29 and an Artist’s Reception on May 1 at 5:30 p.m.

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