Why are we spending so much time trying to bring to light the shortcomings of Native people competing for scholarships. Wouldn't it be better if we spent our time researching why there are hindrances and more importantly, how to develop and/or unlock the door leading to successful results? As an example, go to the current online issue of the Navajo Times and read about a student who was able to attend college through his amassed efforts of scholarship applications, reviewing other essays, creating templates and applying to even the smallest local community scholarships that led to an accumulation sufficient enough to more than pay for his dream of attending Harvard. And he is giving his time and knowledge, freely, to parents and students on how he did it, what it took, and perhaps dispel the notion that only high academic achievers need to apply. When I was in high school, the counselor did not have the time or desire to tell me about scholarships. I was a first generation in my family to attend college, which we still see plenty of today. I agree that we are a race of late-comers to higher education, but we are making our own path that no one else can do for us. Our culture, language and traditions are finding its way into curriculum in primary education in more and more Indian communities. In today's high tech society, we have little excuse to say that we are unable to help students seek and successfully win scholarships. In short, we make our own chances, it should not be given to us. One of my jobs was to assist vocational education students from various Indian communities. We put together funding plans which often meant going to their community and also speaking with their parents because they also had to continue providing support through encouraging regular attendance or helping with transportation. Many of these students commuted because they had a strong tie to their tribal traditions and ceremonies. The greatest personal reward was seeing some of these students 2 or 3 years later and hearing how they completed their program and had a job they enjoyed. Wouldn't it be wiser if we invested our time in seeking resources that will provide students and parents the knowledge to securing funding instead of delineating why we fail?
Monday, September 17, 2012 - 07:55