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Community Member Graduates Recognized at Annual Celebration

Salt River Schools Education Board member Kim Anton shakes hands with high school graduate Niquolas Myore at the Graduation Recognition Program at Talking Stick Resort on June 22. Dozens of Community graduates were celebrated.

More than 65 recent high school and higher education graduates were honored on June 22 at Salt River Schools’ Graduation Recognition Program at Talking Stick Resort.

The special occasion is an annual celebration for all Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community member graduates to gather and be recognized for their achievement.

In all, 32 high school graduates and 36 higher education graduates participated and received plaques.

(L-R) Kathy Toney, Westwood High School graduate and Roxie Andrews Perseverance Award winner Hunter Phillips, Roxie Andrews and Norma Torres.
Two students were selected for unique awards. Westwood High School graduate Hunter Phillips received the Roxie Andrews Perseverance Award, and Arizona State University graduate Christopher Taylor received the Higher Education Outstanding Student Award.

SRPMIC President Delbert W. Ray, Sr. shared a few words of encouragement and gave the invocation.

“This is really special,” Ray said. “I saw the [graduate] list [and] it’s a long list; that means Salt River is strong. Walt Disney said, ‘The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.’ That’s what it’s all about.”

(L-R) SRPMIC Council member Deanna Scabby, President Delbert W. Ray, Sr., Vice-President Martin Harvier, Salt River Schools Education Board Chair Heather Washington and board member Kim Anton congratulate recent graduates.
Salt River Schools Superintendent Louis Laffitte offered the welcome address, and SRPMIC Vice-President Martin Harvier delivered the closing remarks.

“Events like this are helpful reminders of how much your decisions and actions matter, to remind you how much you matter, each and every one of you,” Laffitte said. “Because in this chaotic world we live in, your achievements show what you’re capable of and remind all of us that the future is in your good hands.”

The event included dinner and a special performance by Navajo comedians James Junes and Ernie Tsosie.

“All of you are examples to someone,” Harvier said. “Sometimes we don’t think anyone is watching us, but I want you to know that someone is watching you and what an example you have set by getting your education, and hopefully deciding to continue your education or getting into the workforce.”

Graduates were recognized at the Graduation Recognition Program. Christopher Taylor awarded the Higher Education Outstanding Student Award.