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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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32 Inducted into Navajo Tech Honor Society
by Noel Lyn Smith - Navajo Times
credits: Times photo - Leigh T. Jimmie

When 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 treasurer.

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 experience.

"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.

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