Ariz. - Krystal Dawn Toadlena, 14, of Cottonwood, is the first Navajo
student ever selected to attend the Camp Interlochen Center for
the Arts in Michigan. She is also the first Native American to attend.
1928, Interlochen has been a famous camp for young music students,
dancers, actors, writers, artists, and musicians, and is the world's
oldest and most successful fine arts camp for students ages 8 to
whose instrument of study was the clarinet, attended the camp for
was born to the Bitterwater clan and born for the Towering House
clan. She is the daughter of Judy Toadlena of Cottonwood and Mark
Toadlena of Albuquerque, N.M. Her grandparents are Stella Mitchell
of Cottonwood and Kee and Kathey Toadlena of Chinle.
working very hard at Pinon Middle School, Krystal Toadlena earned
her way to camp with excellent grades and good citizenship, requirements
for acceptance into the music camp. She won awards for best attendance,
outstanding academic achievement, and most valuable clarinet player
in the school band.
Williams, Toadlena's band teacher at Pinon, said to Krystal's mother
that as a youngster she had tried to get into Interlochen but was
never selected and she is very proud of Krystal.
mother said that Krystal's biggest problem was getting used to the
uniforms all the students were required to wear. They were kind
of "dorky" but she became used to them.
also told her mom that she learned a lot, but she also became a
teacher, answering many questions about the Dine, the Dine language,
and the Navajo Nation. She proved to be a great example of the promise
of our Dine youth as well as a fine ambassador for the nation.
Toadlena and her family feel blessed by the financial help they
received from the Pinon School District, Cottonwood Chapter, Alvin
Gee of the Chinle Office of Dine Youth, and Cellular One, as well
as all the family members who "pitched in" to make sure
Krystal was able to attend Interlochen.
was a good opportunity for everyone to show a young Dine musician
that she has the support of her family and the community in which
she lives and attends school. She knows that her focus on her education
yes, she is ready to go back next year.
Lake at Interlochen