Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Thu, Aug. 13

Posting the colors for the Suns <br>

Battalion Commander Hester Sekayumptewa said once they came out on the court that she was too busy to be nervous.

“I was just making sure that I was doing my job,” she said. “Later I realized that the experience was memorable and exciting.”

Photo by Stan Bindell

Hopi High Junior ROTC Battalion Commander Hester Sekayumptewa with with Phoenix Suns representative Jeremy Walls

When Sekayumptewa went on the court, she also heard her family yelling her name and she looked into the seats and saw them waving at her.

Hopi High Junior ROTC has started making the professional sports rounds as they posted the colors at an Arizona Diamondbacks game this past season.

“This is one of the biggest venues we’ve been at,” Nance said. “Bank One Ballpark is so spacious, but here you get to feel the presence of the players and the fans.”

Nance said performing at the game was a delight for the Hopi High Junior ROTC cadets because they lit up like Christmas trees with the idea of getting on the Phoenix Suns court and getting so close to the players.

Nance told the cadets ahead of time that if they felt nervous about the posting colors before such a large crowd that they should just focus on something to keep their mind off of it.

“I was on pins and needles worrying about whether something would go wrong, but our cadets all acted like professionals,” he said.

Nance said the game was phenomenal just like most of the season has been for the Suns.

“This Phoenix Suns team will be around for awhile and, hopefully, they will continue to help us with fund-raising,” he said.

The game Hopi Junior ROTC attended was the Suns’ Family night. For that game, the Suns sold tickets at cost to other schools as well as the Hopi High Junior ROTC, allowing them to resell them in order to make money for various programs.

Many Hopis made the trip to see their children/cadets perform on the Phoenix Suns floor.

Cadet Carolee Honanie said it was exciting and fun “to see our people sitting in the same section.” She added that this trip would be a great opportunity for future

Junior ROTC cadets at Hopi High.

Nance said performing in front of such a large crowd builds confidence in the young cadets.

“This is another feather in their cap. It puts Hopi High School and the Junior ROTC program on the map,” he said. “The kids represented Hopi High School and Junior ROTC in a good and honorable way.”

Nance added that the kids enjoyed it and it makes other students want to join Junior ROTC.

Cadet Holly Jim-LaRance said posting the colors before the game was an awesome experience.

“But what stood out about the trip was getting to see the basketball players,” she said.

Cadet Austin Coochyumptewa said it was great to stand in front of all those people while posting the nation’s flag.

“It was a great game because it was the first game that I have ever been to,” he said.

Cadet Sharlene Smiley said the best part was seeing Amare Stoudemire.

Cadet Vera Edelson said she was excited and scared about posting the colors in front of so many people.

Cadet Leandra Calnimptewa said she was scared at first, but once they were on the Suns court “it wasn’t that bad.”

During their weekend in the Phoenix valley, the Hopi High School Junior ROTC cadets also attended the Indian art market at the Heard Museum and visited the state capitol.

(Stan Bindell, former Observer editor, is journalism and radio teacher at Hopi High School.)

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