Jefferson Yazzie stood after hearing his name, a big smile spread
across his face.
Yazzie's smile was one of many that filled
the room during the induction ceremony for the Navajo Technical
College chapter of the National Technical Honor Society, which as
the name says, is a techie's version of the National Honor Society.
"Awesome. I never thought I would
be a member of this club," Yazzie said.
He was among 32 students inducted into
the honor society Tuesday evening.
In order to become a member, the student
must be enrolled full-time, carry 12 credit hours per semester,
and have a 3.25 cumulative grade-point average.
Yazzie has a 4.0 GPA and is pursuing an
associate degree in accounting and a certificate in bookkeeping.
Before attending Navajo Tech, Yazzie said
he was coping with hard times and personal challenges, but refused
to give up.
"Thank God I had another chance at
education," he said.
Part of the vision at Navajo Tech is to
help Navajos acquire technical skills in a hands-on learning environment
based on the Diné philosophy of education.
In another part of the room, Alvina Tom
stood with honor society members Angie Roanhorse and Menell Smith.
"It feels good," Tom said about
joining the organization. She also was chosen to serve as the chapter
She is pursuing an associate degree in
culinary arts and decided to attend Navajo Tech because it is located
near her home in Littlewater, N.M.
The tuition was also affordable.
When Tom was looking at culinary arts
schools in Arizona, she discovered that tuition could run as high
as $46,000 - while tuition at Navajo Tech is $480 per semester for
enrolled members of a federally recognized tribe.
Ten schools in New Mexico belong to the
National Technical Honor Society, as do 39 in Arizona and 9 in Utah.
Navajo Tech is the only higher education
institution on the Navajo Nation to have a chapter although there
are chapters at Chinle High and Ganado High.
The chapter at Navajo Tech was chartered
four years ago and membership has climbed steadily. This year's
induction is the largest so far.
"There's a collegiality that develops
among the students," said Joann Becenti, one of the faculty
advisors for the organization.
Adding to that experience, the honor society
helps students become academically stronger, she said.
"We are proud of our students. Every
year we have more students joining this organization," said
NTC President Elmer Guy.
The ceremony included a speech by state
Sen. Lynda Lovejoy, D-Crownpoint, a member of the NTC Board of Trustees.
Lovejoy called on the students to continue their academic success
and to acknowledge failure when it happens but to learn from the
"Your installation and your induction
to the Navajo Technical College chapter marks a huge statement for
you as individual students," she said. "It brings honor
to join an esteemed program."
Lovejoy also told the students they have
the ability to become leaders, with or without an official title.
"A leader's qualities doesn't come
from special powers it comes from a strong belief in a purpose and
a willingness to step forward," she said.
The 2011 inductees into the Navajo Tech
chapter of NTHS are: Terri Ami, Michelle Becenti, Sharie Begay,
Victor Begay, Eric Begody, Lola Bekay, Sherietta Brown, Garry Chee,
Geraldine Coan, Nicole Francisco, Marvin Gus, Joanne Ignacio, Roshelda
Jake, Yvette Jones, Sheilandria Kaye, Vernon Kaye, Nikisha Littleben,
Martina Martinez, Genelle Morris, Linda Mud, Sabrina Pablo, Justine
Pete, Sara Sandoval, Teresa Sandoval, Menell Smith, Alvina Tom,
Zandra Trujillo, Tiffney Segay, Gina Williams, Adaline Wilson, Jefferson
Yazzie and Tammie Yazzie.