NM - A banner with the phrase "Yideeskáágóó
Naat´áanii" hangs in the Shimá Sání
Cafe at Navajo Preparatory's new student center.
the phrase means "Leading into the future." The banner
hung prominently over the heads of more than 200 students, teachers,
community leaders and financial donors Wednesday during a celebration
called to commemorate completion of the student center.
$7.5 million student center includes a new library, cafeteria, kitchen,
science classrooms, a school-based health center and counseling
and academic offices. The two-story, 27,000-square-foot building
is named for Betty Ojaye, who since the school's inception in 1991
has served as Navajo Prep's executive director.
is a celebration, a celebration of a vision of very many, many people,"
Ojaye said Wednesday. "This, by no means, was accomplished
by one person. It took a group of strong, dedicated people to get
new student center means better facilities for the school's 200
students who seek an education at Navajo Prep because of its heightened
programs and 98-percent college acceptance rate. About 150 of the
students, who are in the ninth through 12th grades, reside on campus
during the week.
lot of children that went to school here went to prestigious colleges
and universities," former board member Leo Johnson said. "That
tradition is still here. Navajo children know that when they go
here, they will succeed."
former board members still are involved in the school, and most
of them have personal or family ties to the campus. Ojaye honored
several past board members Wednesday.
Betty Ojaye Student Center replaces crowded classrooms and small
science labs formerly used and located in the old administration,
which was built in 1935.
new building also meets the design standards to be considered "green,"
according to information from the school. Its design calls for efficient
water use, among other things. The cafeteria and library use sunlight
for natural lighting.
of the student center marks the $40 million point in construction
and upgrades to the 84-acre campus in west Farmington. The upgrades,
which are nearly complete, were developed in 1997, and the $40 million
in capital funding came in three phases from the Navajo Nation,
the federal government and state a private sources.
to come is a $3 million music and fine arts building. The school
also hopes to find money for a baseball field and a maintenance
and transportation building.
have reached our $40 million mark," Ojaye said. "So this
is a celebration of our accomplishment, and we're still not finished