A Park Middle School teacher and a Chiawana High School graduate are among this year’s recipients of Fulbright scholarships.
The amount of the awards were not disclosed but the scholarships will pay the living expenses of Zack Zappone and Le’Ana Freeman as they work and study in Colombia and India, respectively.
The Fulbright Program provides scholarships and stipends to university students and professors to study and work abroad. Roughly 1,900 U.S. citizens have received scholarships to do research, study and teach abroad.
If you work really hard at your education, it will provide you a lot of opportunities.
The awards were inspired by U.S. Sen. William Fulbright, who envisioned them as a way to strengthen ties between the U.S. and other nations after World War II. They are paid for by the U.S. State Department, foreign government agencies and donors. Fulbright recipients have won numerous Nobel and Pulitzer prizes and even gone on to be national leaders in their home countries.
Zappone and Freeman will both serve as English teaching assistant as part of their scholarships, with Zappone based at Universidad de Cundinamarca in Girardot, Colombia, and Freeman at Ramakrishna Mission Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Chennai, India.
Zappone grew up in Spokane and attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., before coming to Park Middle School to teach language arts and history as part of Teach for America. He’s also coached soccer at the middle school, founded the school’s mock trial club and has organized trips to Washington, D.C., for students to learn about civics.
Freeman was part of the Running Start program at Columbia Basin College, allowing her to graduate with a high school diploma and associate degree before heading to Western Washington University in 2012. She has already studied abroad in India once as well as in Thailand and South Africa. She will attend Heidelberg University in Germany as a graduate student once she completes her Fulbright work.
Freeman grew up in a low-income single parent household and said she hoped her accomplishment can show other kids in similar circumstances that they, too, can have such experiences.
“If you work really hard at your education, it will provide you a lot of opportunities,” she told the Herald.