Hopi High students share insights on their graduation<br>

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Graduation from high school can be a significant turning point in young people’s lives. The following Hopi High School students took time to pen their reflections regarding this event.)

Inspirational words provide focus

By Eudora Nodestine

Today is the first day of the rest of our lives.

As we the class of 2004 walk onto the freshly cut grass, my fellow classmates and I are dressed in shades of blue and silver. It is May and the temperature is just right—not too hot and not too cold. I feel a breeze rush up against my face. I sit there and close my eyes dreaming about my future.

From the football field I can see my family sitting in one small section. I can see my mother cry with joy, proud that I have accomplished my goal. When we are seated, my friends are talking and giggling, saying

“What if this is the last time we ever see each other?” I just sit there, lost in the haze of my dreams.

When I snap out of my reverie, a drop of sweat is running down my cheek. I wipe my face and notice that the graduation ceremony is almost over.

The principal is saying, “Today is the first day of the rest of your lives.”

As I think about this quote, I envision the road ahead. I may have tough times and I may get knocked down, but I will always pick myself up.

I will never forget this graduation day. I will always remember this important quote: Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Those words will keep m focused on my path, my dreams, my future.

My son, my teacher

By Sacheen Chapella

On a bright, colorful evening, I gave birth to my beloved son Jarius. The moment I laid eyes on him, I fell in love with him. Every second I am with Jarius,

I am happy.

Throughout this past year, Jarius has been my teacher.

He has saved me from the mischief of my past. He has taught me how to respect others as well as myself. By caring for this child who I have brought into this world, I have learned the true meaning of responsibility.

Since the day I found out that I was pregnant, I have had to assume responsibility and become an adult. I am finishing school not only for my sake, but for my son’s sake. I want him to have the best future possible, and I will work as hard as I can to ensure this.

It is not always easy. When my friends ask me to go out with them, I often can’t go, unless Jarius can come along with me. And when I have money, I first must make sure that my son has what he needs before I can spend money on myself.

As I approach my graduation day, I want to thank my son, Jarius, for teaching me lessons that will last me for a lifetime. Because of him, I have learned the meaning of responsibility and the meaning of love.

Look at the value of faith

By Evan Peiffer

The water was ice cold in the middle of April because the snow had melted off the mountains. The members of my church were performing a baptism, and I was the one being baptized.

We waded into the river about waist deep. My legs were like blocks of ice; I couldn’t feel a thing. I could have sworn I saw a miniature iceberg float by. In Christianity, we believe that when you are baptized you die to your sinful nature, and become a new person in Christ. They dunked me under the water, and it felt as if time stood still.

Then a thought crossed my mind: “I am really going to die! Pull me up again!”

Of course the pastor was in the middle of a sermon, not realizing how long I was submerged. Just when I was about to meet my Maker at the end of a long, white tunnel, they pulled me up. I was out of that water in seconds. I must have set some kind of record.

My greatest value is my faith in Christ. It is what gets me through the day, and, generally speaking, gives me something to live for. My parents have been missionaries since I was born, but I didn’t really experience what God had in store for my life until I was a teen.

During seventh grade, it felt as if my life was falling apart. I was not the nice boy my family once knew. I was mean. I slipped in and out of depression, and I stopped attending church, which only worsened things.

But when my family moved to Idaho, my life changed. It was there that I experienced God. He took me as I was and transformed me into a new person. God helped me to change my lifestyle. It was as if God had softened me into a kinder person. I can’t say I’m perfect and don’t sin. To err is human. In my walk with Jesus I can say I’m becoming a better person each day.

At my baptism, I had fully decided to follow Jesus. It was the point in my life that has given me the most joy and freedom. I can’t imagine a life without Jesus and following the path that he has for me.

Now that I am about to graduate, I reflect on the past few years. I have been blessed in many ways. I have two loving parents, friends, and everything I need.

Sometimes, I can see God’s blessing just by the everyday little things. I look forward to the future to see what God has in store for me after graduation.

It says in the Bible that God has plans to prosper those who follow him wholeheartedly. God has a plan for my future, and I know I will succeed with His help.

The value of education

By Daffany Johnson

You have two F’s again. You really need to get on the ball if you want to graduate,” my mother said.

“I know, I know,” I replied as I rolled my eyes.

That’s all I remember saying after my mother gave the “get on the ball” lecture. When the first semester of my senior year ended, I had three F’s and my counselor told me that even if I were to pass all my classes the next semester, I wouldn’t be able to graduate. I was so depressed that I didn’t even want to finish the semester.

Instead, I quit. At that time, I had a part-time job so I started working full-time.

I thought I had a good life working as a waitress. I was making money and spending it on anything I wanted. Everything was going good until my supervisor called a staff meeting to tell us the new requirements ordered by the manager. We were told that every worker was required to have a high school diploma or a general equivalency diploma (GED).

About one-fourth of the workers were affected by the news, and told to leave. I was suddenly unemployed. I tried to find work elsewhere, but all the jobs required a diploma or a GED and some college experience. I didn’t have anything.

I started realizing how important it is to finish high school. I guess that’s why my mother was always lecturing me about my grades. You can’t get anywhere without a high school diploma. I found that out the hard way. Even though I had family and friends who were actually shouting it out to me, I chose not to listen.

The following year, I enrolled back into high school and tried my best to finish out the year. At first, it was a little hard. I had my ups and downs along the way, but I had friends, family and teachers who helped me out. Most importantly, I had encouragement from my mother.

My mother has become a very important role model in my life. After finishing high school, she went on to college, traveled around the United States and became an elementary school teacher. She also managed to raise two children. I now realize I want to accomplish as much in life as she did.

As I prepare to graduate from high school, I guess I’m thankful for my mother’s lectures. I have learned to value education.

“You can accomplish any goal you set if you really want it,” my mother told me.

Without those encouraging words, I probably wouldn’t be here today.

(Eudora Nodestine, Sacheen Chapella, Evan Peiffer and Daffany Johnson are recent Hopi High School graduates.)

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