Canku Ota

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


april 21, 2001 - Issue 34



Making Dreams Come True


 By Linda Thomson Deseret News staff writer


The L'il Feathers Dance Group demonstrates various American Indian dance styles at an assembly at Lincoln Elementary. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

When William Thorne was in third grade, some school officials gave him a battery of tests and then informed him that he'd never go to college and should consider himself lucky if he completed high school and got a good job.

Fortunately for Thorne, his strong-willed and education-minded mother told him otherwise, and Thorne did go on not only to college but to Stanford Law School, several judgeships and he now sits on the Utah Court of Appeals. Thorne, a Pomo Indian, is the first American Indian appointed to the appeals court.

"You've got to have a dream," Thorne told pupils on Thursday at Lincoln Elementary School, 501 E. 3900 South.
This elementary school has the highest percentage of American Indian students in the Granite School District as well as many other ethnic minorities and children from low-income families.

"Nobody ought to be able to tell you what you can and cannot do. My mother told me I could do whatever I wanted," Thorne said. "I have a 13-year-old daughter who's convinced she will become a doctor. And not just any kind of doctor, but the doctor who cures cancer because her grandmother died of cancer.

"If my daughter dreams that dream and works hard, she'll have a chance," he said.

One component of hard work is getting an education, Thorne said. Another is never losing sight of who you are and where you are headed.

The special assembly titled "Taking Responsibility for Your Future: The Importance of Getting an Education" was arranged by school officials, the Utah State Courts Public Outreach Committee and the Racial and Ethnic Task Force.

Utah Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Howe recalled how his father, Howard E. Howe, was Lincoln's first principal when the school opened in 1923. His sister, Elaine Howe, attended the school and spoke of the years she spent there as a third-grade teacher.

Lynn Hall Nez, a social worker with the Indian Walk-In Center, also urged the children to get as much education as possible and asked those who were college-bound to raise their hands. "Wow!" she exclaimed as a sea of hands shot up. "Look at that!"

Another American Indian, Nino Reyes, who does drug counseling, encouraged the children to set goals and told how he completed several educational and career goals. Another of his goals was to learn to play the flute as an adult, and not only did he succeed, but he will soon release his second CD.

Reyes then treated students to a haunting flute solo.

Colorful and educational entertainment was provided by the L'il Feathers Dance Group, a group of students who demonstrated various American Indian dance styles. The dancers invited the visiting dignitaries onto the stage and ended the assembly with a sign language and vocal song titled "Go, My Son," which contains such lyrics as, "From the ladder of education, you can help your Indian nation."

After the assembly, visitors were invited to the classroom of teacher Charlene McCaffery, who worked with Title IX aide Scott Speechart to get a grant titled "Science Through Native American Eyes," which financed a series of special science-fair projects.

Student Allysa Love, 11, who is Navajo, said she was pleased with the assembly and the science activities. She made water drums, then changed the water levels in them and learned how that affected the musical pitch.

"I think they are very helpful. It helps you learn about the real world and about our culture," she said.


 Elem Pomo Nation




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