Shoshone-Bannock Graduation

The Valedictorian for the Shoshone-Bannock High School Class of 2018, Elayna Bear, prepares to give her address at graduation on Thursday.Tribal Elder Bob Pevo gave the opening prayer in the Shoshone language after the processional and flag song at the Shoshone-Bannock Junior/Senior High School graduation on Thursday evening. Master of ceremonies Matt Wilson stands to the right of Pevo. Fort Hall Business Council representative Ladd Elmo stands in back of them. The keynote speaker, Johanna Jones from the Office of Indian Education at the Idaho State Department of Education is at the far left.The Shoshone-Bannock Junior/Senior High School graduation on Thursday evening in a ceremony that was full of life, singing and drumming as ten seniors received their high school diplomas.
By: 
Catie Clark
Reporter

Most seniors do not process into their high school graduation through the smoke of purifying herbs fanned by eagle feathers—but most schools are not the Shoshone-Bannock Junior/Senior High School (SBHS). That institution graduated ten seniors on Thursday evening in Fort Hall in a event that was a unique mix of traditional Americana and tribal ceremony.
The seniors marched into the school's gymnasium from the outside. Herbs meant to purity and bless were burned at the door, fanned with an eagle-feather fan by a tribe member in regalia. The graduates were led by tribal elder Bob Pevo in his full regalia. The faculty, graduates and audience then stood for the flag song sung by the local Medicine Thunder drum.
Pevo opened the ceremony with a prayer in the Shoshone language. He was followed by the SBHS Princess and student council president Sincere Martin-Teton, who welcomed everyone to the ceremony.
After some brief words of acknowledgement and thanks from school superintendent Jonathon Braack, the invocation for the event was given by Fort Hall Business Council representative Ladd Elmo.
Elmo had three things he brought to the graduates attention: "You have skill and will continue to gain skill to take care of yourself and your family. You have gained knowledge and will continue acquire knowledge so you can do anything you want to do. And you have attendance—you came every day, day after day, because you cared to educate yourself."
When Elmo finished, Medicine Thunder then sang an honor song for the graduates.
The keynote speaker was Johanna Jones from the Office of Indian Education at the Idaho State Department of Education. Jones is also a doctoral candidate in education. Her theme was: "This is the just the beginning of what you will accomplish."
The salutatorian was Martin-Teton, who introduced a bright spot of humor as she began her brief address thanking everyone, including "mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunties, uncles, cousins, second cousins, third cousins and fourth cousins three times removed."
The valedictorian was Elayna Bear, whose short address focused on future prospects: "this school has opened my eyes to the opportunities to succeed."
When all the addresses were done, each of the ten seniors received a high school diploma, a rose, and a commemorative t-shirt. The ceremony closed with a slideshow of the graduates and a song. "A Parting Blessing," by tribe member Conrad Benally.

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