By Kyle Mangum
BLACKFOOT – Tuesday evening, the Indian Education Committee held a meeting to honor the graduating seniors from Blackfoot and Independence high schools. Families were encouraged to support the graduating students prepare for a group photo opportunity.
Joining the students in celebration will be the Miss Indian BHS Queen, Harmony Tissidimit, who will join the students during their photos.
The meeting started with a traditional prayer before Randy'L Teton proceeded with the agenda. Teton expressed that there will be a student event at Idaho State University that the families are welcome to attend, even if ISU is not their intended college. Merle Smith, one of the teachers at BHS and member of the tribe, expressed excitement for the students, explaining that each one of the 20 graduating native seniors have applied to colleges, each has completed their FAFSA, and are working toward the next step of their education. "We know that an education will help them in their lives," Smith stated in reference to the students advancing their educations.
Along with honoring the graduating seniors, Teton expressed excitement for the new officers of the Indian Club. The new president is Lillian Eagle Speaker, vice president is Xavier Sequints, secretary is Tanaya Wadsworth, and the sergeant-of-arms is Cedar Sequints. Teton also thanked the previous officers, and told the story of when she was an officer in the Indian Club when she was a student at Blackfoot High, and a member of the tribe expressed that he was the first president of the Indian Club upon its inception.
Teton explained that before her time as the chair of the Indian Education Committee, she intends to complete a project in conjunction with BHS and Superintendent Brian Kress to include a trophy case for honoring the native students. Teton expressed interest in adding a visual representation of the connection the area has with the Native Americans that continue to be part of the community. Adding to the efforts, Teton explained that there will be a new Miss BHS Queen crown introduced this year, and the crown that Harmony is currently wearing, will be added to the display case.
Teton and Smith explained that the Pow Wow held by the Indian Club at BHS has been recognized as being one for the record books, with the students generating funds through fundraisers to continue this annual tradition.
The core of the meeting came to fruition as Teton exposed the graduation cords to be presented to the seniors. One-by-one she draped the cords over the students, hugged them, and sent them to over to the teachers and administrators who continue to be influencing figures in their lives. After hearing claps of congratulations from those in attendance, the students posed for a second photo opportunity, now sporting their custom graduation cords. The only students missing from the photo are Tyren Dann, Patience Fisher, Evan Evening-Moss, and Zane Fox. Dann, Fisher, and Fox all will be graduating early, according to Smith. Evening-Moss received the Mayors Scholarship as well.
Graduating seniors in attendance include: Marlin Jim Longhair, Trevis Teton, Shayla Eagle Chasing, Angel Raye Racehorse, Dystnee Andrianna Rope, Ontaria Ariwite, Ruby Big Horse, Brailey Tissidimit, Anastasia Rias, Anton Adakai, and Jerrod Williams.
Congratulations seniors, and good luck!