Begody wears many hats at the University of Arizona. But one more
dear to her heart is that she will be a first-generation college
graduate May 2010.
of my mentors told me it takes a village to raise a child and it
took a lot of people to help me get to where I am today," she
Navajo, will be a first-generation college graduate in May 2010.
Upon graduation she wants to go home and volunteer in her community
but her ultimate goal is to attend law school, she said.
could get five degrees or work a minimum wage job, just as long
as I'm giving back to our younger ones and the community,"
of Arizona Senior has a Full Plate
UA senior currently holds the title of Miss Native American University
of Arizona, was recently named one of the top 12 students at UA,
is founder of the Native American Journalists Association chapter
at the university and was one of nine selected nationally for the
Roy W. Howard Reporting Competition. The competition includes a
two-week, all-expenses-paid trip to Japan during the summer.
is definitely something my grandfather, parents and mentors said
I could do and now things are happening like they said it would,"
21, grew up on the Navajo Reservation in Ganado, Ariz., with no
plumbing or electricity. She spent her childhood living in a cabin
with her maternal grandmother, Lena Shirley, She was the only one
out of her four siblings who lived with her grandmother.
fondest memories of living with her grandmother were weaving and
hunting prairie dogs with a homemade slingshot. Her grandmother
did not speak English but they communicated.
thought my grandma was cool and I felt special being with her,"
Begody said. "Now that I look back on it, my grandmother was
someone I learned from."
grandmother is in her mid-eighties and lives with one of Begody's
aunts in Utah.
Role Model for Indian Country
is majoring in journalism and is earning a minor in American Indian
studies. She is a 2007 graduate of the Freedom Forum American Indian
Journalism Institute. She has also interned at The Missoulian newspaper
in Missoula, Mont., and The Navajo Times in Shiprock, N.M.
Beyal, editor-in-chief of the Navajo Times, said Begody's achievements
do not surprise him since he has come to expect nothing less from
her. He said she is a role model not only for the Navajo Nation
but also for Indian Country.
is getting her education and succeeding where you do not usually
see Diné and other Native Americans succeeding," Beyal
2006 when Begody was a freshman in college, tragedy struck her family
when her older brother, Christopher, died in a car accident. She
said it was hard and there were many times at school she had to
pull herself aside and cry in the restroom. Then she would breathe,
pull herself together and go on with her day.
had a lot of nights filled with tears, questioning, pain and sadness,"
she said. "But I had my family and roommate Leandra who were
there for me."
Helped her Overcome Family Losses
said her parents were the biggest part in helping her get through
her brother's death. She said family members leaned on one another
and when it was one person's turn to pick the other up, they would.
said talking about her brother and their fondest memories of him
helped. Her parents also talked to her and emphasized how proud
her brother was of her. They told her he would have wanted her to
keep on with her education, she said.
brother use to tease and pick on us," Begody said with a smile.
"He would say a lot of silly things and jokes."
Begody's parents, Leroy and Laura Begody, could not be more proud
of their daughter. Laura recently resigned from the Department of
Economic Security and Leroy is a welder. Leroy said it is a touching
situation and wonders what he did or said to his daughter to make
her accomplish so much.
Pledge Their Continued Support
is my first child that is going to be graduating from college and
I don't know what to say," Leroy said. "It's a dream come
said there is no one in their family who has gone this far in school
and it makes her speechless. She is positive Candace will continue
to surprise their family with her accomplishments.
parents, we support her 100 percent on anything she does,"
said many people have helped her along the way and she likes to
call them her fans. She said her family, siblings, grandparents
and people who have believed in her make up her fan club.
said graduating from college is going to be life-changing, and it
has been a long, hard road to get where she is, but it was well
worth it. She has learned a lot about herself and said college is
not just about graduating with a degree; it is about learning who
I graduate it is only the beginning," Begody said. "It
is the start of something new."
Ramon-Sauberan, Tohono O'odham, is studying journalism at the University
of Arizona in Tucson. She is a graduate of the Freedom Forum's 2008
American Indian Journalism Institute. Last summer, she interned
as a reporter at The Daily Times in Farmington, N.M.