POLACCA, Ariz. — Two plus two plus two could add up to a lot of recognition for Hopi Jr./Sr. High School (HJSHS)—and possibly $10,000.
HJSHS is one of 16 finalists for Harvard University’s tribal governance award—Honoring Nations. HJSHS is the only educational institution being considered from the prestigious award.
The 16 finalists were selected from an initial pool of 70 applications from more than 50 Indian nations. The finalists’ programs span a wide range of government activities including social services, economic development, resource management and intergovernmental relations.
HJSHS’s two plus two is a college transition program initiated by HJSHS Superintendent Paul Reynolds in partnership with Northland Pioneer College and Northern Arizona University.
On November 14, eight of the finalists will be awarded high honors and a $10,000 monetary prize following an all day public program and reception in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Three officials from Harvard visited HJSHS September 28 to evaluate the program. Harvard staffers Andrew Lee and Jonathan Taylor were joined by Governing Nations Board Member Alfrida Metre.
“Congratulations for making it to the sweet 16,” said Taylor told the HJSHS administrators.
Superintendent Reynolds said the two plus two plus two program has worked out well as HJSHS students can earn up to 18 hours of concurrent college credits while still attending high school.
“This lets students know that they can handle post-secondary education. It gives them a better attitude toward education. We have an aggressive school board that has been dedicated to the educational success of the students that has allowed this to happen,” he said.
Reynolds said it is an honor to be recognized by Harvard because whenever Harvard puts it name behind anything, it gives it great impact.
Hopi Chairman Wayne Taylor, Jr., said it is great that Harvard and HJSHS have formed a partnership.
I appreciate their efforts and I challenge all of you to have huge dreams. Out of this class, students can attend Harvard. I’m proud of all of you and I’m proud of the school. I want the best for you because you will be the ones on the tribal council,” he told the advanced math class while touring the building with the visitors from Harvard.
Glenn Gilman, principal at HJSHS and writer of the nomination letter, said the program has been successful because of cooperation between the partners and school’s investment in technology. HJSHS has installed a line for Internet capability and has purchased more than 200 computers. NAU built a distant learning center, installed a satellite campus and offers distant learning classes. NPC recruited HJSHS teachers to become community college certified and began offering concurrent classes to HJSHS students.
It is hoped that students who complete the program will return to the Hopi Reservation to help expand economic and social development in order to help with self-determination.
HJSHS is considering similar initiatives with Arizona State University and the University of Arizona.