Lockridge Foundation will journey from Washington Dulles International Airport to Antananarivo, Madagascar.

Image is courtesy of Austin J. Cooper

Follow four local students and two WOLCF chaperones as they embark on a journey to Madagascar to immerse themselves in the culture and bring back valuable insights.

On July 25, four local students and two WOLCF chaperones representing the Lockridge Foundation will journey from Washington Dulles International Airport to Antananarivo, Madagascar. Their mission is to immerse themselves in the local culture and bring back valuable insights. They will return to Washington on August 5, enriched by their experiences.

The Republic of Madagascar is an island country comprising Madagascar and numerous smaller peripheral islands. Lying off the southeastern coast of Africa, it is the world’s fourth-largest island, the second-largest island country, and the 46th-largest country.

The 2024 Class of Lockridge Foundation Ambassadors are Logan Arthur (McKinley Technology High School), Amber Jackson (McKinley Technology High School), Tyler Branch (Mac Arthur High School), and Jaylen Parker (McKinley Technology High School).

They will travel to Africa under the Foundation’s International Ambassadors Program (IAP). Organizers Ada Anagho Brown (President of Roots to Glory Tours) and Madagascar native Vanéna Wilmot will lead the visit.

Lockridge Ambassador Amber Jackson expresses her excitement: “While traveling to Madagascar, I hope to learn about the culture of the people who live there. This trip will change my life by showing me a different perspective on living in a developing country and will be a humbling experience as an American citizen. I am excited and eager to learn more about Africa as it is my first time on the continent.”

Trip highlights will include visiting a local high school and interacting with local students, visiting a local embroidery factory, visiting a reserve for reptiles and amphibians, and visiting Antananarivo (the sacred hill of Ambohimanga). The Lockridge Foundation Delegation will also pay a courtesy visit with the Hon. Claire Pierangelo, U.S. Ambassador to Madagascar.

Upon their return, the Ambassadors’ journey will continue. They will share their experiences with a wider audience, being interviewed by the Voice of America (VOA) and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA). They will also be privileged to meet with Her Excellency Amielle N. Marceda, Chargé d’Affaires, at the Embassy of the Republic of Madagascar to the United States, further strengthening ties.

Marceda says, “I was delighted to learn that the William O. Lockridge Community Foundation is taking several local high school students to my beautiful home country of Madagascar. I can honestly say that their lives will never be the same after visiting and experiencing first-hand the people, customs, food, and culture of my people.” She continued, “I look forward to meeting with the students before and after the trip and commend the Lockridge Foundation for exposing them to this life-altering opportunity.”

Wanda D. Lockridge is the Founder/Chairwoman of the WOLCF, which is named for her late husband, William, a longtime Ward 8 community activist, teacher, and wrestling coach at Ballou Senior Hugh School, and Member of the DC State Board of Education (SBOE). Lockridge, Chief of Staff to Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon S. White, Sr., says, “I intend to take students to Africa at least every two years so they can learn about its history and the culture and understand its significance to the United States.

“I am especially interested in ensuring,” Lockridge continues, “that students in Wards 7 and 8 are recruited for the International Ambassadors Program because of the exposure not otherwise provided in their homes or classrooms.”

Previous Lockridge Foundation Ambassadors have traveled to Cameroon, Ghana, and Benin. In 2025, the WOLCF intends to take another group of Wards 7 and 8 high school students to the West African nation of Sierra Leone.

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