TUBA CITY -- At the top of the heap this year for Tuba City High School are 10 students who represent the best of the best. All have been accepted to colleges or universities, with the top two heading for University of Arizona.
During the graduation ceremony held at Blue Canyon Memorial Stadium on May 21, the entire TC Governing Board, the TC High administration, along with Senior Class Sponsors, Cedric Dawavendewa and Richard Dawavendewa, showed strong support for all these outstanding students.
TC High's 2005 Top Ten academic achievers include:
¥ Valedictorian Tami Dugi, a member of the Navajo Nation, is the daughter of Eloise and Jeffrey Dugi. She graduated with a final GPA of 4.42, is National Honor Society President, a Spanish Club member. Dugi is Educational Talent Search Selectee, recognized this year for Outstanding Algebra A and B, Outstanding Award for Advanced Geometry, Outstanding Award for Advanced Functions, Outstanding Award for Advanced Trigonometry and Outstanding Award for Chemistry I. She's also a member of Who's Who Among High School Students, and recipient of the President's Award for Excellence.
Dugi showed she was committed to community service by participating at St. Jude's Soup Kitchen, Salvation Army, tutoring for TC Junior High math students, volunteering for trash pick-up and at College Goal Sunday.
¥ Salutatorian Jamie Wilson, also a member of the Navajo Nation, was selected as this year's 2005 Salutatorian and is the daughter of Jimmie and Effie Wilson.
Wilson had a final GPA of 4.22 and was a member of the National Honor Society and a major fund-raiser for both prom and Spanish Club. She tutored peers at the high school and junior high level, volunteered for the Salvation Army, volunteered at the St. Jude's Soup Kitchen and participated on both the volleyball and track team.
Both Dugi and Wilson have accepted full academic scholarships to the University of Arizona and plan to major in medicine.
¥ Faronson Begay, Navajo Nation, is the son of Evelyn and Francis Begay.
¥ Lindsey Dugi, Navajo Nation, is the daughter of Cynthia and Jimmy Dugi.
¥ Jennifer Justice, non-native, is the daughter of Larry and Diane Justice.
¥Lachelle Kaya, a member of the Navajo Nation, is the daughter of Lynn and Spencer Kaya.
¥ Pharah Morgan, San Ildefonso Pueblo/Navajo Nation, is the daughter of Evelyn and Faron Morgan.
¥ Randall A. Nez, a member of the Navajo Nation, is son of Albert and Sally Nez.
¥ Kayli Nockideneh, Navajo Nation, is the daughter of Louise and Jeff Nockideneh.
¥ Jessica Tsingine, Navajo/Hopi, is the daughter of Minnie and Ray Tsingine.
All of the Top Ten Seniors have received scholarship awards from Arizona State University as well as two additional seniors, Tennille Begay and Roberta Peaches.
Northern Arizona University bestowed , its Blue and Gold Award upon three of TC High seniors, Kayli Nockideneh, Jessica Tsingine and Jamie Wilson.
The U of A awarded President Awards for Excellence to Lindsay Dugi, Tami Dugi, Jessica Tsingine and Jamie Wilson.
The TC seniors chose their own high school math teacher, Ira Mexicano, who himself will return back to graduate school to pursue a master's in mathematics, as this year's keynote speaker.
Mexicano, also served for the past two years as the teacher/sponsor for the National Honor Society for TC High, which holds the Arizona state record for the most members of any reservation national honor society.
Mexicano had much advice for his students in his address.
"To remain disciplined, remember your long-term goals," he said. Remember that you represent your family and your tribes when you go out into the world and if you can squeeze it in, have a little fun too."
Native language was a big focus at the Saturday morning graduation exercise, with several of the student speakers delivering their messages in Navajo, Hopi and Spanish.
Kassandra Lister led the crowd of more than 3,000 parents, students and community members in a Pledge of Allegiance, followed by Shane Dugi's invocation and final benediction by Shirlene Gashweseoma.
Ray Tsinnie, Shonie Yazzie, Matthew Logg and Cheabon Dawavendewa jointly led the changing of senior tassels.
Photos from the Media Center of TCHS 2005 Commencement Exercises have been posted on the website at http://www.tcusd.k12.az.us/education/dept/dept.php?sectionid=11 . The TCJHS photos will be posted there in the next couple of days.
For more information about Tuba City High School call Principal Adelbert Goldtooth at Tuba City High School (928-283-1047) or the Tuba City District Office of Public Relations at 928-283-1072.
(Rosanda Suetopka Thayer is Public Relations Director for Tuba City Unified School District.)