HHS Students Involved In Hopi Inauguration
By Stan Bindell
Kykotsmovi, Ariz.–Hopi High School played a large role in the inauguration ceremony of Hopi Chairman Wayne Taylor Jr. and Vice Chairman Eljean Joshevama Jan. 11 at Hopi Veterans Center.
Daryn Melvin gave the opening prayer and the Hopi High School JROTC posted colors and performed drills and the Hopi Junior/Senior High School marching band performed. Tara Secakuku, another Hopi High School student, helped prepare for the inaugural meal by grinding the corn.
Dr. Paul Reynolds, superintendent of Hopi Junior/Senior High School, said the school’s presence was well noted and well deserved. “The chairman and vice chairman can be proud of their high school, and we appreciate the opportunity for our students to be involved with such a prestigious ceremony,” he said.
Melvin, vice president of the Hopi Youth Council, said giving the opening prayer was an honor, fun and a good experience. Chairman Taylor said he selected Melvin for this chore because he has seen him speak previously and was impressed. “You’ll be chairman someday. You make us proud,” Taylor told young Melvin.
Hopi Vice Chairman Eljean Joshevama told Melvin’s grandmother, Delphina Melvin, that he was also impressed with Melvin’s speaking skills. Melvin, an Honor Roll student at Hopi High School, said everyone treated him well and he was glad to have the opportunity to give the opening prayer.
“I’m proud that my school was part of the inauguration. The band and JROTC did a good job. They should be proud of themselves,” he said. Melvin, who writes for the Hopi High Bruins Times newspaper, attended Taylor’s first inaugural four years ago.
“This was more exciting and because the youth were more involved, it was more lively,” he said. Blair Quamahongnewa, director of the Hopi Junior/Senior High School marching band, said the band performed well despite only having three or four days after Christmas break to rehearse.
“The band members acted professionally. They were mature about the situation, knowing they didn’t have much time to prepare. I thought they were awesome,” he said. Quamahongnewa said the students have learned their instruments and just have to learn how to turn notes into music.
“They’ve really grown since August. They know how to play a gig with one week’s notice, and that’s impressive,” he said. Quamahongnewa said the band members received a lot of positive comments from the crowd after the inaugural.
“Everyone said they were glad we came out,” he said. Hopi Appellate Court Judge Emory Sekaquaptewa, who swore the chairman and vice chairman into office, encouraged Quamahongnewa to keep exposing the kids to music. He told Quamahongnewa that it was great that a young Hopi could be the music teacher.
Quamahongnewa said the inauguration was a colorful event with a lot of pomp and circumstance.
“That they included children in the program spoke a lot about their concerns,” he said. “These events are often adult oriented, so it was neat that they included children.” Col. Edward Deegan said he thought the JROTC’s participation was the high point of the inauguration.
“I think the JROTC was extremely well prepared, especially the color guard and rifle team under the direction of Sgt. First Class Miguel Rodriguez,” he said. Deegan said JROTC is an asset to the school and the community. He was especially proud when the entire battalion sang “Gold Bless America.” He added that he expects the Hopi High JROTC to become an intricate part of the high school and community. Deegan said he was extremely proud of the students and that JROTC was able to participate in the inaugural.
“The inaugural was well done and organized. It flowed well and it was over at a reasonable time. When an inaugural is done in two hours, it shows that there was good organization,” he said. Deegan said JROTC received many compliments from
Chairman Taylor and many others. “I wouldn’t change a thing,” he said.
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