CITY, AZ. - The competition is tough to get into college. The final
year of high school is long with testing and more testing, endless
applications, financial aid assessments and then waiting and hoping
for a letter of acceptance from the college or university of a student's
choice. Some students hope a full ride scholarship will accompany
that final acceptance letter.
Ten of this year's brightest and most promising seniors, among
many others at Tuba City High School (TCHS), will head to college
this fall, scholarships in tow.
Jaren Numkena, 17, of Navajo and Hopi
tribal descent and the son of Louise and Alan Numkena from the Todich'ee'nee
clan, qualified for a Gates Millenium Scholars award. Numkena is
interested in pursuing a career in engineering and credits Tuba
City High Schools' accelerated program classes as his best academic
support in preparing him for college.
Numkena also said that President Barack Obama is his role model
in overcoming obstacles and racial prejudice in achieving both academic
and career goals. Numkena said he also enjoys working in his family
Hopi fields in the Kerley Valley during his quiet at home time.
Kenard G. Dillon II, from the Navajo Nation
and the son of Kenard Dillon and Maxine Sandoval, received a full
ride scholarship from Harvard and is also a final qualifier for
the Gates Millenium Scholarship.
Dillon is interested in history for his undergraduate studies
and then would like to pursue a law degree. Dillon credits his grandparents,
Merrill and Lorraine Sandoval, and teachers Cynthia Robbins, Tom
Jones and Effie Hyden for inspiring him to pursue higher education
and to reach for the highest, brightest academic stars. He also
credits biology and English classes at Tuba City High School for
"challenging him academically and expanding his intellect."
Dillon enjoys painting, reading, student government and environmental
activism. Dillon served this year as Student Council President and
President of the Environmental Heroes Club at Tuba City.
Kristen Becenti, 17, from the "One
Who Walks Around" clan, is the daughter of Roland and Veronica
Becenti. Becenti was a highly recognized volleyball star this year
at Tuba City High school. She accepted a volleyball scholarship
to Glendale Community College and plans to complete a physical therapy
Becenti credits her parents as her inspiration for working hard
and achieving her career and life goals. Becenti also credits teachers
Tom Jones and Effie Hyden as her academic mentors. She enjoys church
activity, reading and spending quiet time with her immediate family.
Christopher Honahnie, 18, from the Navajo
"Manygoats" clan and "Ishwungwa (Coyote) clan on
his Hopi paternal side, is the son of Tanya Tso and Troy Honahnie,
Jr. Honahnie is the winner of the Walter Winterhoff Scholarship
and will study public health in college. Honahnie lists his mom,
Tanya Tso, a teacher in Tuba City, as his inspiration and credits
Tuba City High School with providing him with academic challenges
through the honors and accelerated programs helping him prepare
for college. Honahnie says in his free time he enjoys running and
Emerald Byakeddy, 18, from the "Manygoats"
clan born for Water's Edge people, is the daughter of Emerson and
Anna Biakeddy. Byakeddy has qualified for the Gates Millenium Scholar
award and also a Chief Manuelito Award from the Navajo Nation. Byakeddy
will major in biology at Arizona State University. Byakeddy credits
her grandfather for her academic and social inspiration. She said
her grandfather encouraged her everyday and was there to support
her throughout her life. Byakeddy thanked teacher Maria Goatcher
for her academic mentorship and said the accelerated programs at
Tuba City High helped her understand and study for her upcoming
university career. Byakeddy performed well in cross-country and
track beginning in her sophomore year and is a member of the National
Shelden Lok'a'a' Neez Coolie, 18, from
the Lok'a'a' Dine clan is the son of Rose Coolie. Coolie has been
in the top ten of his class since his freshman year at Tuba City
High and will pursue mechanical engineering or mathematics when
he gets to college. Coolie is a member of the TCHS Marine Corps
Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program as well as an avid
welding student. Coolie will attend the Naval Academy Preparatory
School in Newport, Rhode Island in a one year program and then will
move to the four year program in Annapolis at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Isabella Shey Robbins, 17, from the Bilagaana
and Naakai Dine clans from the Navajo Nation is the daughter of
Cynthia and Tony Robbins. Robbins will attend Stanford University
and has qualified for the Chief Manuelito Scholarship from the Navajo
Nation. She will study theater arts and dance. Robbins credits her
father as her greatest supporter. She said he overcame many struggles
in life and became a successful accountant. She also credits her
grandfather for daily inspiration.
Robbins also credits TCHS for giving her opportunities outside
of daily school, such as her Philips Exeter summer school and her
honors and accelerated programs classes that she said she knows
will help her once she gets to Stanford.
Ryan Moran, age 17 from Irish, Italian
and Croatian descent, is the son of Kathleen O'Connor-Moran and
Kenneth Moran. He is Tuba City High School's highest academic achiever
for 2013. Moran is the Valedictorian for TCHS and received the Wildcat
Excellence Scholarship from the University of Arizona. Moran will
study biology and said his parents are his biggest inspiration for
academic and life achievement. Moran will graduate with a 4.4 grade
Stephanie Antonia Geneeha, 18, from the
Tse'deeshgizhnii (Rock Gap) clan is the daughter of Rosemary and
Garry Geneeha. Geneeha qualified for the Gates Millenium Scholar
award as well as the Obama Scholarship and Presidents Award. Geneeha
will study biology at Arizona State University this coming fall
and is an aspiring dentist. Geneeha is the Salutatorian for TCHS
and said her maternal family gave her encouraging words every single
day of her life for her success. Geneeha will graduate will a 4.2
grade point average.
Tristan Tsosie, 18, from the "Tangle
People" clan is the daughter of Jerilyn Tsinigine and David
Tsosie. Tsosie won the Wildcat Excellence Award from the University
of Arizona and plans on studying to become a pharmacist. Tsosie
said Tuba City math teacher Raye Lynn McCabe, also her aunt, is
her greatest academic mentor and her mother Jerilyn Tsinigine is
her life inspiration.