Tuba City High names 2016 valedictorian and salutatorian

Tuba City High School 2016 Salutatorian Kolton Chato (left) and 2016 Valedictorian Shane Moran. Photo/Rosanda Suetopka

Tuba City High School 2016 Salutatorian Kolton Chato (left) and 2016 Valedictorian Shane Moran. Photo/Rosanda Suetopka

TUBA CITY, Ariz. -Tuba City High School is a rich melting pot of ethnic cultures, which includes tribal and non-tribal members who support, show encouragement and loyalty to one another.

The support helps build student confidence, understanding and appreciation of all cultures in a rigorous academic program.

This year at Tuba City High the two highest GPA finalists are Valedictorian Shane Michael Moran and Salutatorian Kolton Quinn Chato.

Moran, who is non-Native, was born and raised in Tuba City and has attended Tuba City schools from pre-school to his final year in high school.

Moran is a genuine product of the Rez. He experiencing Hopi, Navajo and San Juan Southern Paiute cultures in Tuba City, blending his own highly productive educational endeavors with close friends who are tribal members enriching his cross cultural upbringing preparing him for the outside world academic experience.

Moran, the son of Kate O'Connor Moran and Ken Moran, was born in Tuba City and looks forward to attending the University of Arizona in Tucson this fall.

Moran has chosen the field of Fine Arts-Music for his career and has already shown musical promise on guitar, having been selected to participate in the Native American Composers Apprenticeship Program (NACAP) with the Grand Canyon Music Festival.

NACAP composer in residence Michael Begay mentored Moran this year. Moran was able to write and experience formal composition work through the music program.

Moran has higher education examples in his home, His mom attended Drake University and his father attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His older brother is currently at the University of Arizona.

Moran said his greatest mentors at Tuba City High were teachers RaeLynn McCabe, Effie Hyden and John Goatcher.

"The coursework really helped me learn how to write successfully and carefully, using research and correct English in my homework papers," Moran said. "This has been extremely helpful."

Moran gave some advice to the friends he leaves behind as he graduates.

"Find a career that you're really passionate about," he said.

Chato is the son of Winston Chato and moms Ardith Colorado and Cheryl James. He went to school in both Utah and New Mexico before he came to Tuba City High School.

Chato has been a student in the Tuba City District since the seventh grade. Chato is a member of the Navajo Nation.

Born in Gallup, New Mexico, Chato has had the opportunity to meet and work alongside other students, helping to build his competitive nature and desire to do his best in school.

Chato names his immediate family and teachers at Tuba City High school along with Summer Academy mentor Laurie Balenquah, who served as his advisor and counselor during his accelerated summer program, as his greatest supporters and inspiration.

Chato plans to attend Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona to major in electrical engineering.

He is the first of his family to go to college and credits Tuba City High teachers for helping him to focus on his future goals.

When asked what kind of advice he would leave his friends at Tuba City High, Chato said, "you can achieve anything if you really set your mind to it."

The commencement ceremony for Tuba City High School is May 21.

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