teen graduates with armload of awards
AZ - Taneesha Watson had to cancel our first interview - she had
forgotten to bring her awards to school with her, and couldn't remember
all of them.
who attended Chinle High School's awards banquet could forgive her.
Watson claimed so many honors she wore out a path between her seat
and the stage.
of course, there was the honor roll, which was to be expected when
you have a 4.1 grade-point average. Then there were the high school's
academic awards: one each in English, economics and physics.
the 18-year-old, a standout on the school's basketball and volleyball
teams, also picked up two sports honors - the All-America award
for her basketball prowess and a Distinguished Athlete certificate
from the U.S. Marine Corps.
wait, there's more!
also an artist and Chinle High art teacher Karen Coor recognized
her with a certificate of excellence for her ceramics projects.
let's certainly not forget she's a Gates Millennium scholar.
she didn't receive any honors in her favorite subject, math. But
it's a bit hard to shed any tears for this teen, who, in addition
to being bright and athletic, is tall and slim with a million-dollar
doesn't think she's smarter or stronger than the average person,
just a better time manager. She hates to be bored, so she fills
her days with productive activities.
can't stand to just sit around doing nothing," Watson said,
proving it by tapping her foot throughout the half-hour interview
with the Navajo Times.
a lecture gets boring in one class, she quietly pulls out her homework
for another class.
she's not throwing pots or shooting hoops, she's helping out at
the home of an elderly family member.
As for succeeding in school, that's no big secret.
just do the work I'm supposed to do, and turn it in on time,"
shrugged Watson, who is Honágháahnii, born for Kinyaa'áanii.
sometimes a little extra.
satisfied with A's, but I aim for A-pluses," she stated matter-of-factly.
hopes to go to Dartmouth College next fall, but hasn't heard yet
from the Ivy League school. She has an offer from St. Louis University,
but says if she can't go to Dartmouth, she'll probably stay in state.
said she fell in love with the East while attending the summer program
at Phillips-Exeter in New Hampshire a couple of years ago.
a new hemisphere with a lot of different people to meet," she
she has a cousin already in Dartmouth in case she gets lonely.
her main motivators, Watson credits her parents, Stanford Watson
and Debbie Mitchell-Watson.
both school district employees - her dad is parts manager in the
maintenance division and her mom's a fourth-grade teacher - so education
was something that was always stressed in her family.
masání, Betty Mitchell, is also a guiding light.
though she lives in Tuba (City), she tries really hard to come out
and spend time with all her grandkids," Watson said.
youth said she's been fortunate to have a lot of great teachers
along the way, but her favorite is probably her English teacher,
spends a lot of time trying to get all his students into college,"
she said. "One week, we just searched schools on the Internet.
He made us apply to like at least five schools."
into college won't be a problem for Taneesha Watson. But with all
her different talents, she might have a tough time deciding what
to study when she gets there.
the moment she's leaning toward kinesiology - the mechanics of body
movements - and maybe ending up as a physical therapist or sports
medicine specialist. She'd also like to coach basketball.
she goes into, one thing's for sure: "I plan to come back to
the reservation," she said.