TUBA CITY, Ariz. — Tia Folgheraiter, 18, a senior at Tuba City High School (TCHS), is headed to Dartmouth on a full scholarship, where she will focus on biology global health and studio art.
Folgheraiter is the daughter of Verlinda and Ed Folgheraiter of Tuba City. She is one of TCHS top 10 seniors and a member of TCHS’s National Honor Society. She focused on reading to younger students, community food drives and also found time to participate for the past two years in a graphic design photography competition. She placed first in the NATIVE skills contest in Chinle. Folgheraiter also served as senior organizer for her class.
Folgheraiter was born in Tuba City. She spent her elementary years in Flagstaff and then moved back to Tuba City where she attended TCHS since her freshman year.
Folgheraiter got her original inspiration for what she would like to do in her future from a University of Arizona’s KEYS Internship program that was offered through TCHS’s partnership with the University of Arizona science programs.
The internship was a seven week program designed to research ALS (Amytropic Lateral Sclerosis) in Dr. Daniela Zamesco’s lab. It was during this seven week coursework that Folgheraiter found her passion for science.
Folgheraiter says the coursework taught her how to be independent and self-reliant because she had to manage her classes and study time and did not have much time for socializing. She said it helped her self-discipline and attention to detail.
She has since learned how to use a daily planner to prioritize and manage her work and school time more effectively, which helps her get school work done on time and in a more organized, lineal manner.
Folgheraiter also credits as her high school mentor, TCHS math teacher RayeLynn McCabe.
“Ms. McCabe taught me how to be more resourceful and diligent in my work in her AP Calculus course,” Folgheraiter said. “She made things very challenging and taught me how to work through difficult problems.”
She said her sister, Kelli, also encouraged her to work hard in school.
“I see how seriously she worked at getting her nursing degree and now she works at Flagstaff Medical Center,” Folgheraiter said. “She is really inspirational and her showing me her own work ethic makes me realize that I have my own ability to do whatever I want to in life but I just have to work really hard and put my mind and focus on it.”
Folgheraiter admires her parents and their daily support, but she also recognized her own Tuba City and Moencopi communities for their support and encouragement,
“The Tuba City community and Tuba City High School has molded me into the person I am today,” Folgheraiter said. “They have really helped me be successful and helped me prepare for my future endeavors. I am truly grateful to be from here.”