The Yavapai-Apache Nation in collaboration with Verde Valley schools recognized Yavapai-Apache students with the S.P.I.R.I.T. award during the Jan. 29 regular session of the Yavapai-Apache Nation Tribal Council.
The S.P.I.R.I.T. award identifies students portraying integrity, responsibility, inspiration and tradition and is administered quarterly by the Nation's Tribal Council, Higher Education, Johnson O'Malley and Recreation programs. Students who are recognized with the S.P.I.R.I.T. award receive a T-shirt and recognition during a regular session of the Yavapai-Apache Tribal Council. Categories for student recipients include: K-5 grade, 6-8 grade, and 9-12 grade.
S.P.I.R.I.T award recipients for the first quarter of 2009 are:
Toya Hood, 10th grade, Camp Verde High School. Toya is an outstanding student who tries to improve herself everyday. As president of the Native American Club, she is working hard to improve the club and its members. (Nominated by Joshua Riffel and Ron Romero)
Shawnee Spurgeon, 12th grade, Mingus Union High School. Shawnee is respectful, responsible, and always a pleasure to be around. She has passed all of the AIMS tests, she has taken the SAT (college entrance exam), and she is currently enrolled in class at Yavapai College. She is involved in the Certified Nursing Assistant program at Mingus Union High School and will receive her Certified Nursing Assistant certification through Yavapai College. Shawnee will graduate from high school in May with seven college credits. Shawnee is an excellent example for her peers. (Nominated by Shelley Kitchen)
Ashley Loring, second grade, Clarkdale-Jerome Elementary School. Ashley is an outstanding student. She is a very respectful young lady and is very eager to learn and help others. She is an amazing girl and demonstrates good character everyday. She is responsible in finishing her schoolwork everyday. (Nominated by Robin Bruce)
Cecilia Lopez, eighth grade, Clarkdale-Jerome Junior High School. Cecilia is always pleasant in class, tries her best on her assignments, and is very polite and caring. She is involved in her community and keeps her traditions. (Nominated by Robin Bruce)
Alyious Beauty, fourth grade, Camp Verde Elementary School. Several of Alyious' teachers have made positive comments about him. He is known by the students and the teachers for his politeness to everyone. His attendance is great, as well as his grades. He is admired by all of his teachers, for his kind ways, he is always cheerful, and is a hard worker. (Nominated by Linda Peace)
Josh Manuel, 12th grade, South Verde High School. Josh is working hard toward graduation. His attendance is almost perfect, and his few absences were all excused. Josh is very respectful of adults and other students. He supports school projects and always volunteers to help in whatever is needed by the student council and Native American Club. (Nominated by Murrah Boswell)
LaRena Saddleblanket, sixth grade, Beaver Creek Elementary School. LaRena's teacher, Ms. Krantz, has noticed the progress she has made over the past few months. LaRena has been turning in her homework more often and her attitude has changed. She is understanding more and more of her school work and it is showing in her grades. (Nominated by Jennifer Hood)
Jesse Alvey, seventh grade, Camp Verde Middle School. Jesse is a bright, intelligent young man. He is a straight-A student and is a talented wrestler. He is great fun to be around and he has the drive to be successful in everything that he puts his mind to. (Nominated by Patrice Mocta)
The Yavapai-Apache Nation is committed to the continued education of tribal members and residents of the Verde Valley. The Nation has identified more than $2 million annually to the higher education of Yavapai-Apache tribal members and distributed more than $100,000 annually to non-native students in the Verde Valley in the form of the Ambassador Scholarship for higher education.
Thomas Beauty, Chairman of the Yavapai-Apache Nation said, "The only key to the future that we are able to truly control, is that of education. As leaders we need to continue to encourage our youth to pursue a higher education. It is through education that our tribe and our communities will continue to grow stronger."