Tribal Education invites students and families for Chief Azul awards
Gila River Indian News
The 2019 Chief Azul Awards Banquet highlighted the achievements of Akimel O’otham and Pee Posh students on Friday May 3, at the Sheraton Grand Resort at Wild Horse Pass. Tribal Education Department presented awards to 40 youth, grades 4-12, including 1 current college student.
The awards are presented to youth who exemplify great qualities in and out of the classroom. There are two award categories The Chief Azul Scholar Award and Chief Azul Citizenship Award. Recipients had to be nominated by school officials or their tribal counselors in order to apply for either award.
Trina Hart, Education Manager, Tribal Education, said the awards are very competitive.
“This year there were approximately 100 applicants that applied for both awards,” said Hart.
Less than half of those applications were selected for this year’s awards.
For both Scholar and Citizenship Awards, a panel selected the top three for each grade (two finalists and one winner) with 15 youth receiving Citizenship Awards.
Prior to announcing the awards, Lt. Gov. Robert Stone shared his own experiences as a student.
“Young ones here, know that your parents, relatives, and the whole community really support you and want you to succeed in whatever you do,” said Lt. Gov. Stone.
As names were called, Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis, Lt. Gov. Robert Stone, Community Council Representatives Jennifer Allison and Arzie Hogg were on stage to give the awards and congratulate everyone.
Family members in attendance proudly supported each student’s accomplishments. At one point, all recipients were asked to stand and thank their parents in attendance to show gratitude for their support.
“What we as Akimel O’otham and Pee Posh, are nothing if not humble with humility. But I think we have to recognize our best and our brightest. And our best and our brightest young leaders are here in this room now,” said Gov. Lewis.
As District 1 Council Representative Arzie Hogg stated to the youth, “you’re all here because of one right decision after another.” Then encouraged the youth to continue on that path and for parents to also continue their support as they become adults.