The Gila River Indian Community hosts the 5th Annual Governor’s Education Summit
Gila River Indian News
Over 300 attended the 5th Annual Governor’s Education Summit on Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Gila Crossing Community School in District 6. The Tribal Education Department coordinated the summit under the theme of “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow= STEA3M,” (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Architecture, Agriculture, and Math).
As with previous summits, the education-focused gathering addressed all levels of learning in the Gila River Indian Community, which included presentations and a keynote speech by retired NASA astronaut John B. Herrington from the Chickasaw Nation.
Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis opened the event and highlighted the importance of STEA3M education and career opportunities.
“STEA3M is in our DNA. Our ancestors, the Huhugam, built the foundation of Phoenix and southern Arizona with our water lines, so it’s important for us to build upon that legacy they laid here today,” said Gov. Lewis.
Herrington, who also served numerous years in the U.S. Navy and is the first Native American astronaut to go to space, followed Gov. Lewis remarks.
Before sharing his experiences in space, Herrington discussed his upbringing and the challenges of becoming an astronaut. During the keynote address, Herrington stressed that “everyone has the opportunity to do something remarkable with their lives.”
Community departments, organizations, and programs, including Arizona State University held breakout sessions following the speakers. The breakout sessions included hands-on activities and presentations on STEA3M-related areas in learning and the workplace.
Families participated in activities that focused on communication, virtual reality simulations, and fiber optic mechanics as a means of telecommunications. The Department of Environmental Quality, Pima-Maricopa Irrigation Project, Alluvion Communications, and the ASU Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering presented among others.
Tribal Education Department Manager Trina Hart said the summit took four months of planning and was a collaborative effort of TED and the GRIC Executive Office. Hart said that the feedback was positive and encouraging from everyone that attended, including the presenters. Hart said one of the highlights was “having a Native keynote to help Community members realize that the sky is the limit, and there are opportunities in the world within reach.”
Rounding out the day was a student panel highlighting students who are interested in STEA3M related career fields before a closing by Gov. Lewis and Lt. Gov. Robert Stone.