POCATELLO — Fourteen students from area high schools were recognized Friday at a ceremony celebrating the 2011 class of NDN Scholars.
The NDN Scholars Program (Navigating and Developing Native Scholars) is part of Partners for Prosperity and provides Native American high school students with leadership development, mentoring and tutoring.
Tyrell Lyons, a junior at Blackfoot High School, said he chose to participate in NDN Scholars because he felt it would help him develop his leadership skills.
"I felt that's what I needed to get a jump start on," Lyons said. He coordinated a canned food drive a hosted a dinner to present the food to tribal elders.
Lyons will graduate next year and plans to attend college to pursue music, medicine or law, with the ultimate goal of becoming a cardiologist or music instructor.
Austin Kniffin, a junior at Century High School, said she joined the program because she likes helping people and wanted to become more connected to her community in Fort Hall.
"It was a way for me to get to know people," Kniffin said.
Traelee Perdash, a senior at Blackfoot High School, said he has learned valuable skills including leadership and people skills. He also learned about tribal government.
"It helped me out a lot," Perdash said. "I just thought it would be a good program."
Winston Bearing, a senior at Sho-Ban High School, said he learned how to teach others, teamwork and leadership. He also said the program helped him develop confidence to speak in front of others.
For his service project, Bearing worked with students at Lillian Vallely School and taught the students traditional Native American songs. His career goal is to go to college and to run a successful business.
The NDN Scholars program is a joint venture between Partners for Prosperity and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. Randy'L Teton is the Partners for Prosperity NDN youth program coordinator. The goal of the program is to promote education and community involvement. Throughout the year-long program students completed a mentorship program, community service project and participated in a leadership conference.
The students were from Blackfoot, Sho-Ban, Pocatello, Century, Highland and American Falls high schools. Students honored were Austin Kniffin, Cerissa Honena, Dustin Racehorse, Jacob Atkins, JaLynn George, Leela Sorrell, Lonnie Jordan, Makaila Eagle, Tess Hugues, Timothy Haskett, Traelee Perdash, Tyrell Lyons, Vanessa Santos and Winston Bearing.