Graduates receive recognition at Tribal Education Department banquet
Gila River Indian News
With the academic year closing, families from around the Gila River Indian Community gathered Friday, June 14 at the Boys and Girls Clubs of the East Valley Gila River- Komatke Branch to recognize recent graduates. Graduates ranged from high school, college, to those who completed trade or GED programs. The well-attended night also honored outstanding student achievements while encouraging all to continue in pursuing higher aspirations.
Of the 251 total graduates, registered with the GRIC Tribal Education Department (TED), 91 RSVP’d and attended the banquet on Friday. Students were allowed to bring two guests, and with GRIC Leadership and other guests, the guest list peaked around 350 attendees.
Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis provided remarks after the opening procession of graduates around the gym. Gov. Lewis expressed how proud he was for all those in attendance and because of the success of the students in attendance he’s confident the Community’s future is in good hands. Lewis also recognized out-of-state graduates and thanked them for traveling to the event.
After the dinner, two high school graduates Marlena Whitehair (Marcos de Niza High School) and Adam Cardona Jr. (Cesar Chavez High School) gave speeches. These were followed up by college graduates Christina Lopez (Arizona State University), Darius Jackson (Arizona State University), and Jacquelyn Brogley (Gateway Community College). Everyone expressed their gratitude for support from TED and shared stories of the challenges they overcame in pursuing their education.
The graduation recognition called all the students up to receive a certificate of accomplishment from Gov. Lewis, and Community Council representatives Monica Antone, Pamela Johnson, Janice Stewart and Arzie Hogg.
A portion of the evening also featured brief remarks from some of the tribal entities in attendance including the Marriot, who manage the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass and Velvet Button from Ramona Farms who spoke about future career opportunities.
TED indicated that the number of graduates increases each year significantly.