Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Mon, Jan. 25

Acquiring ‘Literacy through Photography’ <br>

The photo at right is by Leon Begay, 14, who lives in Tuba City and is a resident of Kinlani Dorm. He attends Flagstaff High School. The poem he wrote to accompany the photo appears below.

Oh, Fence

By Leon Begay

Oh fence

of much


You fade


into fall

as memory

You bring

me much


Kinlani Bordertown Dormitory in Flagstaff is the home-away-from-home for 160 Native American high school students. These students attend Flagstaff High School, which offers them a variety of courses and opportunities that might not be available on their home reservations. Many of them are carrying on a family tradition—their parents also lived at Kinlani Dorm while attending Flag High.

While in Flagstaff, students take advantage of resources available at Northern Arizona University and of employment opportunities throughout the city. In addition, the dorm provides tutoring and extra-curricular activities, such as skiing and swimming.

Community people offer presentations on a wide variety of topics, from building healthy relationships to preventing drug and alcohol abuse. These cultural, educational, and enrichment activities help provide the students with a well-rounded experience and prepare them to move on to college or vocational-technical programs after graduation.

AmeriCorps Member Beverly Smith, who lived at Kinlani Dorm when she was a high school student, initiated this photography/writing project. She told students this was her way of giving back to the dorm for what it had provided for her.

Smith invited Flagstaff photojournalist Vennie White to the dorm to introduce students to photography and writing techniques. Flagstaff Cultural Partners provided the cameras and film processing. Kinlani’s activities director, Verlinda Folgheraiter, gathered together these creative students for workshops at the dorm and at the Coconino Center for the Arts, located at 2300 N. Fort Valley Road.

For more information on Youth Celebrate Art and Culture activities, call Coconino Center for the Arts, 779-2300, ext. 105, or visit

For more information on Literacy through Photography projects, contact Vennie White at 773-1152.

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