CITY It is difficult not to notice. There is holiday spirit
in the air and it is coming from both students and staff members
at Tuba City Unified School District.
it's the vacation coming up, finding presents under the tree
or even just the idea of all the holiday food and being able to
sleep late in the morning for two solid weeks, but the Christmas
spirit in the air is thick. Everyone seems to be feeling a bit brighter
and happier and most especially, more hopeful as the year is nearing
an end and there is school break that will include spending time
with family and friends, both on and off the reservation, which
will give everyone time to show their love and caring for members
of their immediate and extended family. But there is another aspect
of this holiday spirit that is showing as well.
of focusing on just getting presents or even just having that extra
vacation time, this year TC students and staff members are thinking
about sharing and showing appreciation for other members in the
community, which seems appropriate since this year had a lot of
high profile transitions, some of them tragic.
focus of this TC District holiday spirit seems to be one of gratitude.
Primary School, which is located the furthest north of all the Tuba
City Schools had a Christmas program that focused on giving thanks
to the elders in their community and presenting gifts to them in
gift that the Gap Primary students gave was the chance to speak
Navajo to their grandparents at the school program. They introduced
themselves, named their maternal clan and grade level all in their
own language. Theirs was the gift of culture and language.
these students are so youngmany are just 4 years oldthis
Navajo language introduction brought a lot of smiling pride to the
faces of the grandparents and great-grandparents in attendance.
Tuba City Primary had a Christmas program that featured student
recitation and individual reading, which has been a special school
project this semester. The TC Primary even had a special Santa who
looked suspiciously very much like one of their own teachers, who
read a list of names of students who had accomplished much academically
during this first semester.
particular Santa said these students were on a special good list,
because this reading project included having their parents and family
members participate in reading lessons along with thempromoting
a positive family and educational activity in these television and
video-game saturated times.
staffers at the TC High Alternative School have gotten the holiday
bug and have been participating in "Secret Santa" activities
for the past two weeks.
"Secret Santa" involved a lot of sneaking little presents
in and out of their main front office with little notes attached
for the intended receiver that ended in the phrase, " a present
for you from your Secret Santa." It was a chance to get to
know fellow workers a bit better by finding out their likes, dislikes
and special favorites, which allows better communication and working
atmosphere through understanding throughout the year. Even office
e-mails from individual TCUSD departments have expressed appreciation
and heightened safety for the upcoming holiday driving, shopping
and flying for a lot of teachers traveling home to other places
for the break and bidding them a safe return.
is a truly a time for genuine gratitude, proving that quality education
is not just book or classroom learning but also teaching that kindness,
caring and giving on a personal level is the big lesson this season.
Suetopka Thayer is Public Relations Director for Tuba City Unified