Kaitlin Honahni named Student of the Year at Nizhoni Accelerated

Kaitlin Honahni.

Photo by Rosanda Suetopka Thayer, for the Navajo-Hopi Observer.

Kaitlin Honahni.

TUBA CITY, Ariz. — Katilin Honahni, 20, was named “Student of the Year” by Nizhoni Accelerated Academy (NAA) staff May 20 during the Tuba City Warrior graduation. NAA is the alternative high school for the Tuba City District.

Honahni spoke to nearly 5,000 people during the graduation ceremony, citing extreme support, understanding and attention “to doing the absolute best that one can” from NAA to help her realize her upcoming dream to continue to college to become a preschool teacher in the early childhood education field.

Honahni hopes to attend Northland Pioneer College this coming semester, which is located within Tuba City, so she can also care for her young son, Elijah.

Honahni said during her graduation address that she knew a regular classroom setting was not really suited to her needs. When she attended NAA, which is located in uptown north Tuba off of Main Street, she knew that was the school for her.

NAA was established almost 10 years ago but was only known as the Tuba City High Alternative School. It has since been renamed NAA and is one of the only Arizona state accredited alternative high schools that allows transition into a regular college or university after graduation.

Honahni, a member of the Hopi Tribe, is the daughter of Claudia and Edrick Honahni. She has attended Tuba City School District since her junior year.

She credits NAA staffers Jonessa Reid, academic counselor and her English teacher, Tammy Dugi, for their selflessness in assisting their students and making it absolutely clear to her how important it is to do the very best one can and how important a really good grade is to making one’s overall GPA rise to a level of excellence.

Honahni says the learning system at NAA was totally dependent on her own hard work and discipline.

“I had to be self-motivated to work with what is called the Edgenuity program, which was a much better learning tool for me instead of a regular classroom lecture setting,” she said. “It was really up to me to go as fast as I could, making sure I didn’t make a lot of mistakes and to really understand what each lesson entailed.”

She said that her son, who is 21 months old, was her other inspiration.

“After he was born, I realized how really important it is to get a diploma, so I can go onto college to help earn a living for him and myself,” Honahni said. “Elijah is so inspiring because I have to do it for him. Also, I realize now, that I must also be his role model if he is to be successful when he starts school.”

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