Saturday, June 4, 2011

Nebo’s Title VII program continues to soar

This was in the Daily Herald Newspaper on June 4, 2011

From left, Cody Knaphus, 15, Shauntel Talk, and Bryce Fuentes, 5, practice before their performance of a Native American hoop dance at the Indian Village, part of the Spanish Fork Wild West Days, Friday, June 3, 2011 in Spanish Fork. The Indian Village was set up by students in the Title VII Indian Education Program for the purpose of building awareness in the community for Native American Culture. ANDREW VAN WAGENEN/Daily Herald

Nebo’s Title VII program continues to soar
By: Lana Creer-Harris - Daily Herald

Native American students in Nebo School District have a chance to demonstrate aspects of their culture at this weekend's Wild West Days in Spanish Fork.

More than 15 Native American tribes are represented in the student body of Nebo School District's Title VII Native Education Program. Since the program began 13 years ago, Native student graduation rates have climbed.

Only 37 percent of Native students graduated before the program began, but the program has helped Native parents become involved. Eileen Quintana, Title VII program director, credits the Native Parent Committee with keeping the program moving and successful. She also praises Marthanne Argyle, Title VII's initial Nebo School District administrator, for setting the program in a solid place.

"This would not have happened without Marthanne and the staff who worked so hard," Quintana said.

Students work with Brenda Beyal in the tutoring lab and Natalie Billie, a teacher's assistant. Along with Quintana, the two women are the entire staff of Title VII.

"Our success is that everyone takes part," Quintana said. "We set high standards and the kids meet those standards."

The national average for Native American graduation is about 51 percent. This year, 82 percent of Native students graduated in Nebo School District.

The parent/student -riven program involves the entire family in the student's success. This weekend they are selling Indian Tacos at the Wild West Days in Spanish Fork. They have given out 27 scholarships so far.

To avoid the rootless feeling urban Native Americans can have, the program has always involved native culture along with academics.

"I can't give them their native perspective. This gives them the opportunity to learn," said Emily Loveless a member of the parent committee. Emily and her husband, Rocky, are non-Native and have two adopted Native American sons.

This spring, artist-in-residence Michelle Allrunner taught dance and regalia making to the students. Parents and students brought materials for beading or dance regalia and worked through the month of May on their projects.

Some of that regalia is being used at Spanish Fork's Wild West Days. Students wore the regalia they made and will demonstrate Fancy Dance, Grass Dance, and Hoop Dance on stage today. They also will hold a regalia fashion show and described the significance of each component.

Jeannie Woods, mother of three Title VII students, has been involved with the program for eight years. She praised "all the neat programs Eileen provides."

The students are involved in service projects like Adopt a Native Elder. The Shi Yazhi Princesses, young women chosen to represent the Native students, will act as hostesses in the Wild West Days Native Village.

When the Title VII program was asked to provide Native American culture demonstrations and education for Spanish Fork's Wild West Days, the parents and students went to work. Organizer Dave John had two months to complete the task. It was set and staffed by parents, students, and volunteers.

John said they expect seven vendors this year and have plans for expansion of the Indian Village for next year.

Title VII summer school starts in June. The curriculum includes dance classes and math literacy in addition to technological storytelling and karate. The program always ends with a powwow and supporters of the program and students celebrate in dance. The community is invited to join them.

Visit the Title VII program website at: Find more about Adopt a Native Elder

No comments:

Post a Comment