On May 24, the White Mountain Apache Education Department honored 4.0 students during the annual National Native American Honor Society ceremony at Hon-Dah Casino and Conference Center.
The National Native American Honor Society Banquet recognized students who earned a 4.0 GPA during the school year. The annual event is hosted by the Education Department and was inspired by the late Dr. Frank Dukepoo of the Hopi Tribe. Dr. Dukepoo was the first member of the Hopi Tribe to receive a PhD. In 1982, Dr. Dukepoo founded the National Native American Honors Society, to encourage Native students to strive for greater success in education.
“It is a great honor every year for the Education Department to induct our Apache youth into the National Native American Honors Society. It is a time to celebrate the success of our students and is also testimony that our people are finding strength through education. Throughout the year we put emphasis on the importance of education in our community and it is important that as a community we come together and celebrate our Apache youth’s commitment to their future.” stated Harrisen DeClay, WMAT Education Director.
During the 4.0 Honor Banquet, the Education Department recognized tribal students from area schools and also students that attended off reservation boarding schools who received the 4.0 GPA, and presented each student with a certificate of achievement.
The 4.0 Honor Banquet featured a special program with the National Anthem performed by former Miss White Mountain Apache Kandace Declay, remarks by current Miss White Mountain Apache Lilian Lupe, keynote address by White Mountain Apache tribal member Anthony Chiefo Parker, remarks by Chairman Ronnie Lupe and Vice Chairman Kasey Velasquez, Special Remarks by Tribal Councilmembers Colleen Faden, Jerold Altaha, Everette Massey, Arnold Beach, Ralph Thomas and Alvena Bush, a special honor song and blessing by the Canyon Day Junior High School Apache Club and Pinetree Clan Singers and special guest emcee Miss Indian World 2016 Danielle Ta’Sheena Finn.
Concluding the 4.0 Honors Banquet, the Education Department hosted the induction of the National Native American Honors Society, inducting each student into the respectful organization.