Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Thu, Feb. 27

A brief message to the Native Classes of 2007

With the beginning of summer just around the corner, many high schools across the nation are busy honoring and sending their graduating seniors out into the world-an altogether different world than most of us remember from say, a mere 10 years ago-a world before 9-11.

Fresh on our minds also are the tragic events that took place on the campuses of Virgina Tech and Columbine High School. Daily news reports show the proud faces of many young soldiers in our military who have lost their lives fighting the war in Iraq. These same news reports show gang violence, drug abuse and youth killing youth for no apparent reason than to try and belong in a world that doesn't even want them.

Indeed, this is a completely different world, with many of you possibly wondering, "What kind of world are we sending our children out into?"

High school graduation is a once-in-lifetime milestone in the lives of many of our nation's youth, and though it should be a celebratory milestone, the state of our world today undoubtably leaves many to wonder about what kind of positive contributions these youth can make to society.

This is where the family comes in...parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles...even close friends and people you consider as mentors could be considered as members of your "extended" family. Regardless of who they are, young people should try to find positive role models in order to obtain guidance and make some sense of what they want to accomplish in their lives rather than "fly blind" and do it all alone. Nobody can do it alone!

Continuing your education is perhaps the best available option for young people. Families should encourage their young teenage sons and daughters to go to college and get their degrees in technological, medical or scientific fields so that they can contribute to research towards improving human health life and coming up with the latest in advanced technologies.

Many states (including Arizona) are suffering from a lack of qualified teachers to teach the next generation of children to take their place. State governments are looking for well-qualified individuals to take positions of leadership and assist in many different areas of need, such as child welfare. And there is always a need for qualified law enforcement officials to help protect you and your loved ones.

For Native Americans, there is a great need for doctors, lawyers, teachers, managers, entrepreneurs, and tribal leaders who are willing to make sacrifices and commitments to helping out their people. We need more people like Karletta Chief, Pete Littlehat and Julius Yellowhair who have earned their doctorate degrees and prove that when you set your heart and mind to accomplishing your goals, NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE!

So with that in mind, I urge each and every one of you to think long and hard about what you want to do with your lives. Take this opportunity to do something positive with you life and use the skills obtained from your high school education to advance yourself further than you can even imagine.

Despite the fact that you're no longer in high school, obtaining an education is a never-ending, lifelong endeavor.

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