Scholarships help Navajo sisters reach for nursing dreams
PAGE, Ariz. — They both are dedicated to the healing touch in a time of greatest need.
Sisters Teneesha and Lakeesha Todacheene of the Page area have their sights on becoming nurses, and thanks to the Coconino Community College Foundation, they can afford to pursue their dream.
“I always dreamed of becoming a nurse, and my ultimate goal is to become a nurse practitioner,” Lakeesha said. “I’ve always been inspired to help people.”
Lakeesha said she’s never shied away from the sight of blood, and she’s always pushed herself to be in a helping role. Besides, it’s only natural for her, because several of her family members come from a healthcare background.
Lakeesha received a Raymond Educational Foundation scholarship and a CCC Foundation scholarship to attend school. Her first two semesters, she paid out of pocket.
“It was a struggle,” she said, adding that the scholarships will help with tuition and basic needs. “They help me get myself back on my feet.”
She took several moments to speak about her gratitude to the donors of the scholarships.
“I want to thank them for helping me in a way that nobody else would,” Todacheene said.
Sister Teneesha said she has wanted to become a nurse since she was a child.
“As a child, I would dress up as a nurse or a doctor for Halloween. I enjoy helping others.”
She added that there’s a saying in Navajo that “No one else can do it but you.”
It was a favorite saying of their grandfather, who passed away in 2015.
In high school, Teneesha took college classes to receive certification as a Certified Nursing Assistant. She also paid her way through welding school – she had decided that she wanted to be a nurse, but she had to put those plans on hold when her grandfather got sick. She spent time with him and took care of him. She said it made her realize she wanted to return to the Navajo Nation and work with the elderly through Indian Health Services.
She wants to bring the skills she acquires home, where there aren’t enough resources.
“It’s like your family,” Teneesha said. “There’s a connection.”
Teneesha, who currently works as a case aide for the Arizona Department of Child Safety, received the Reboot Scholarship, a Raymond Educational Foundation Scholarship and a Northern Coconino County/Page Scholarship. Her gratitude to donors is as deep as Lakeeshas.
“Thank you,” she said. “It’s helping me get by.”
The sisters are also strident in their desire to get to their goal, and they encourage others to have the courage to take those next steps.
“Do what you love,” Lakeesha said. “Don’t do something you don’t love.”
More information about scholarships available through the CCC Foundation is available at www.coconino.edu/foundation.
Spring semester registration begins Nov. 9. Those interested can schedule a meeting with an advisor to determine course schedules at www.coconino.edu/advising-options#ccc-advising.
Information provided by CCC