General Council Elects Robin Sigo, Wayne George to Tribal Council
Suquamish Honors Graduates
Submitted by April Leigh
Tribal graduates of all ages were honored for their achievements during the 12th Annual Suquamish Graduation Ceremony at the House of Awakened Culture on June 14, 2012. The program, designed to celebrate the educational milestones of Tribal Members, recognizes graduates from High Schools, GED Programs, Technical Schools, Certificate Programs, Community Colleges and Universities.
“We congratulate and thank you for honoring yourselves and your families,” said Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman during opening remarks.
A combined total of 25 Tribal Members were honored during the event. Speakers included Middle School Education Specialist Shannon Benally, who challenged graduates to be agents of positive change for future generations.
“It is now your responsibility to be leaders and mentors in your community, I ask you to be persistent and stubborn in following your dreams,” said Benally.
During the ceremony, Benally was also honored for her contributions to the Suquamish Education Department. After 5 years of service in Suquamish, she is returning to her home reservation in New Mexico to continue her career in education.
Suquamish Tribal Members Calina Lawrence and Sammy Mabe also spoke to graduates, emphasizing the importance of education and the opportunities available through the Suquamish Higher Education program.
Lawrence, a full-time employee at PME Construction Corporation and Olympic College student honored for graduating High School in 2011, focused on overcoming obstacles to education. “It’s not always going to be smooth the whole time, but that doesn’t mean you have to quit. Learning is a gift we have that we all should embrace,” said Lawrence.
Mabe, a full-time employee at the Suquamish Tribe and environmental sciences student, spoke about the challenges he faced returning to school as an adult and the courage it takes to start over. “It takes perseverance to go back and finish somethingyou had to give up because of life circumstances,” said Mabe.
In addition to speeches and inspirational stories, the graduates were also honored with Certificates of Achievement and individual recognition during the event. High School and GED graduates were also gifted paddles, carved especially for the event. “The paddle signifies a journey, and education is a lifelong journey,” said Event Coordinator and Education Department Office Manager Rebecca Purser. In addition to recognition, the Suquamish Education Department also honored three High School graduates with special awards.
North Kitsap Graduate Ariana Warner received the Most Outstanding GPA Award for earning more than a 3.5 overall grade point average during her High School career. Kingston High School Graduate Oskar Salas received the Best Attendance Award for attending more than 96% of his classes and South Kitsap Graduate Phillip Holt III received the Most Outstanding Athlete Award for his achievements in sports which earned him a football scholarship to Oregon State University. Higher Education graduates, which included a number of Technical School, College and University Graduates, were gifted Pendleton Blankets and cedar -woven purses. In addition, all graduates also received family graduation photos as part of the event.
The Suquamish Education Department plans to continue the annual event with honoring for 2013 graduates next summer.
“It is a pleasure to be able to invest in our young people and your dreams,” said Leonard Forsman.
High School Diploma
Phillip Holt III
Christine Sheppard - The Salon Professional Academy
Chelsey Jackson - The Salon Professional Academy
Breanna Jackson - The Salon Professional Academy
Alyssa Mabe - University of North Texas ~ BA
Mary Lou Salter - The Art Institute of Seattle ~ AA
Linda Holt - Olympic College
Cori Silvey - Olympic College