Canku Ota Logo
Canku Ota
Canku Ota Logo
(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
pictograph divider
UMN-Gallup’s Long 1st Dual-Honor Graduate
by Jan-Mikael Patterson - Navajo Times

CHURCH ROCK, N.M. - Gallup resident William Long, 18, got the night's biggest reception during the University of New Mexico-Gallup commencement ceremonies May 14 in the Red Rock Park amphitheater.

"It felt amazing," Long said.

His accomplishment - earning a high school diploma and an associates degree simultaneously - is the first for UNM and the first in the state.

"It just happened," said Long, who was unaware that he'd set a milestone until his principal in the Middle College High School told him the news. He received a letter from the New Mexico Senate confirming his accomplishments and congratulating his efforts.

Long is the son of Calvin and Genice Long of Gallup and the second youngest of five brothers and one sister.

"I'm proud of it," he said with a broad smile. "I was actually surprised when I got the news. I really didn't plan for it."

At the beginning of his high school career his mother, Genice, had looked into the UNM program. For Long, the choice was either being home-schooled or going through the program.

Middle College is an accredited charter school where students can earn high school and college credits at the same time, according to the UNM-Gallup Web site.

Students receive tutoring as well as guidance and counseling for class selection, college preparation and personal matters.

The Middle College High School is an adult environment with students expected to be responsible for their own educational progress and behavior.

Long said he will continue at UNM-Gallup until he completes his prerequisites and then will transfer to the main campus in Albuquerque. He plans to major in pharmacy.

As the first student to earn both a high school diploma and a college degree, Long hopes his accomplishment will encourage others to try out the program.

He was among 353 students who graduated from UNM-Gallup last week, encouraged by the words of speakers and school officials to go out and make a difference in their community.

One graduate who already is doing so is Marie Begay of Lupton, Ariz., currently on leave from her job with the Navajo Nation's Community Health Representatives office.

Begay, 51, said she dropped out of high school in 1975, got married and raised a family.

In 2000 she went back to school and earned her GED in 2002. Her son shed tears as he watched her pick up her associates degree in community health education.

"I feel really good, but I'm kind of wore out," Begay said. "I took 18 credit hours and I had to go (on) educational leave so I could finish.

"It's not too late," she said. "If I can do it, anybody can do it."

Helping her celebrate the achievement were her husband Leon Frank, two children, four grandkids, her nálí and her adopted son Dion Wilson Begay.

Marilyn Reeves of Spencer Valley, NM, said Vice President Ben Shelly encouraged her to continue her education in microcomputer operations.

"(Shelly) said to me, 'We need microcomputer operators in the Navajo Nation,' when he congratulated me," Reeves said. "He said it was needed on the Navajo Reservation."

Reeves is currently employed with Western New Mexico University where she believes her new degree will help her ascend the career ladder. For now she plans to stay with WNMU, but hopes eventually work for her tribe.

Shelly noted that people have the right to an education and that nothing should stand in the way.

"When you leave here, think of yourselves like water," Shelly said. "When water flows nothing can stop it. You put a boulder in front of it, it will find a way to get around it. Think of yourself like water and nothing can stop you."

For information on Middle College High School:

pictograph divider
Home PageFront PageArchivesOur AwardsAbout Us
Kid's PageColoring BookCool LinksGuest BookEmail Us
pictograph divider
  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  
Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 of Vicki Barry and Paul Barry.
Canku Ota Logo   Canku Ota Logo
The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the
Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 of Paul C. Barry.
All Rights Reserved.

Site Meter
Thank You

Valid HTML 4.01!