Ramon Lopez was awarded for his perfect attendance at Whittier Elementary.

Students Honored for Perfect Attendance and Academic Achievements

By Tasha Silverhorn
Au-Authm Action News

On the evening of June 6, Salt River students were recognized and rewarded for academic performance and perfect attendance. The Salt River Education Department’s School and Community Relations Division held an honors banquet for students in grades K-12 who had perfect attendance, students in grades K-6 with an A or B average, honor roll or principal’s list students, and high school students who had a GPA of 3.3 or higher throughout the entier school year.

This school year, 35 students were honored for these accomplishments, and accompanying them were their families to watch and celebrate them. The event took place at the Round House Café, where dinner featured Indian tacos and cake.

During his welcome address, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Dale Frederick expressed his happiness to all the students about their hard work, including the parents and guardians of each student.

“These are the great pleasures of my job, to be able to accept and share the honors and acknowledgements that are received by our students as we move forward. [P]erfect attendance and excellence in academics—these are things we need to recognize on an ongoing basis,” said Frederick. “Many times many other issues are acknowledged—people hear about the things students do that don’t honor us—but these are the things that do honor us, and we honor you, your parents and the Community.

These accomplishments are brought about by families who are supportive and…[are] there on an ongoing basis, because we all need guidance as we go,” Frederick continued. “It takes the team of the school to be there as well; we [at the Education Department] are committed to working with you, regardless of where you’re going to school, to ensure the structure is in place to assist you in being successful and continue with these great endeavors.”

As SRPMIC Vice-President Martin Harvier arrived, he went around to the students, congratulating them and asking them how they thought they accomplished perfect attendance and/or GPA success.

Some of the students responded, “I don’t know,” and others said, “My grandma got me up in the morning to go to school.” One of the parents said, “He did it by himself; I had to work and he got up on his own, and now he is receiving perfect attendance.”

“It’s really something this evening recognizing you all,” said Harvier as he took the podium to give a congratulatory word. “The total Community-member students in [grades] K-12 are about 1,400; tonight we are recognizing 35 students, which is a great accomplishment. You always hear at different events, especially at graduation, [where] I tell you to get all the education you can, [because] the education you learn through elementary, high school to your college years, they can’t be taken that away from you. Continue to go as far as you can in your education.”

Harvier told the students a story about a train switch operator who turned a switch too soon, leading the train passengers’ luggage to go down a different track.

When the passengers arrived at their destination, they were very upset to find that their luggage was hundreds of miles away, in a different place. It was because of that switch operator’s decision to turn the switch too soon that the luggage didn’t stay with the passengers.

“As students, there are going to be a lot of things that are going to derail you from getting to the point that you want to get. So stay on the track, on the course, set goals for yourselves. And parents, continue to do the things that you are doing with your students,” said Harvier.

“We [the Community] talk about the problems that we’re having in the Community. I want to tell you that what’s been said is true, it starts in the home. I can tell you with the students who are being recognized tonight, you’re doing a good thing in your home, and continue that,” added Harvier.

“Keep positive and set goals for yourself, and again congratulations. You’re a small group, but we are very proud of you all,” Harvier concluded.

After quick words from education board members, the awards presentation began. Each student was given a small plaque and a certificate.

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