newspaper story about him had resonated with the class, and one
by one the students began to write to Rep. John McCoy, the only
Native American in the state Legislature.
wrote about how he had given them hope, made them believe in themselves
and proud of their history.
has been nearly a year since their correspondence, but the students
at Indian Heritage Middle College High School in Seattle finally
met their inspiration yesterday after several schedule conflicts.
said he was touched by their words.
near North Seattle Community College, Indian Heritage is an alternative
Seattle public high school with about 40 students, mostly Native
of the students have struggled at school or at home, and they saw
a bit of themselves in McCoy, said teacher Mary Lee Colby. They
wrote last year after the 60-year-old Democrat won his 38th District
House seat, which stretches from Everett to the Tulalip reservation
and western Marysville in Snohomish County.
students shared how encouraged they were that he had made something
of himself, even though he never went to college. They were comforted
that he juggled several careers in the military, as a commercial
fisherman, a berry picker, a computer technician, a tribal lobbyist
before he made it to Olympia.
the state House, he has been involved in commerce and labor, higher
education, trade and economic-development issues.
proud "you are a Native American," he told students yesterday.
"We have so much to offer."
Jacob Encalada presented McCoy with a school T-shirt and later said
his classmates can relate to McCoy because he knows what it's like
growing up in a world where Indians are looked at differently and
aren't given much chance of success.
few graduates, such as Raven Millante, came back to school to hear
McCoy's pep talk yesterday. Millante recalled writing to McCoy last
year to thank him for showing that one man can make a difference.
am trying to do the same," he said.