The Hopi Jr/Sr High School Parent Advisory Committee meeting

POLACCA, Ariz. - The Hopi Jr/Sr High School Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) covered a wide range of topics during its Nov. 1 meeting.

Brian King, director of the Native American High School program at Harvard, informed PAC that he was at the high school for the week to do an evaluation of the Hopi to Harvard summer program.

King was interviewing students, teachers and parents who have been involved in the program during the past ten years to see if they thought the program is beneficial, what they liked best and how the program could improve.

He said Dr. David Potter and Dr. Edward Furschpan, who are both in their 80s, have been the teachers in the program, but they are looking to redesign the program so it can carry on. About 80 Hopi High students have been in the Hopi to Harvard summer program during the past ten years.

PAC issued a letter of support for the Hopi High Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps to obtain an obstacle course. The letter is being sent to the administration and the Hopi Jr/Sr High School Governing Board.

Paul Reynolds, superintendent of Hopi Jr/Sr High, said the ropes course can become a reality and the school board is supportive of the proposed obstacle course. However, he said plans for a tower on the obstacle course is a serious concern because it would raise issues about liability.

The obstacle course also calls for team development, which is helpful for building leadership and team skills. The obstacle course would cost an estimated $20,000 to $30,000 and would be phased in.

PAC members asked if Hopi Jr/Sr High School was still lobbying to get an additional gym since there is only one gym for both schools.

Hopi High Principal Glenn Gilman said a new gym would cost a minimum of $1-$1.5 million. He said the architectural work has been done and the school board is supportive, but they are on a waiting list with the federal government to receive the funding.

Superintendent Reynolds said an additional gym is needed because practices get backed up and students get home from practice too late. He feels this can negatively impact the students grades.

Reynolds said the school will need tribal government support and a unified effort in order to receive another gym.

Micah Lomaomvaya, president of PAC, said there will be a more complete presentation about an additional gym in the future.

Elden Kalemsa and Rachel Povatah from the Hopi Alliance Against Substance Abuse gave a presentation about substance abuse.

Povatah said neither the school nor the police should be blamed for the problem and "it will take all of us" to solve the problem. She noted that the Hopi Police Department has a new chief.

Povatah said a number of agencies, such as the Hopi Wellness Court, are addressing the issue. She said the solution is for natives to look into their history and their culture.

"When we know our culture we're not lost," she said.

Kalemsa said it starts from the family in the home.

Bruce Talawyma said not enough people are attending meetings to address the drug and alcohol problems, yet "there are tragic events in every village."

PAC established seven goals for this school year:

1 - Ropes/obstacle course

2 - Cultural presentations

3 - Class and student presentations

4 - Movie nights

5 - Coffee shop nights for literature, arts and music.

6 - Lobby for a separate gym facility for junior or senior high

7 - Student/parent opportunities networking for sharing information on financial aide and educational and learning programs.

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