Nizhónígo Nee Ado’ááł (Have a beautiful day)

Keoni Boren: "Let's Go Hunt Monsters!" "It Will Be Awesome!"

It is hard to miss Keoni Boren, a senior from Springville High School.  He definitely has a BIG personality and a strong presence.  You will notice this Navajo/Pacific Islander/Caucasian from Springville.  There isn’t any hiding in the shadows for this kind, generous, social, likeable senior. His family and friends say that he can make friends with anyone and make them feel comfortable and relaxed. Keoni says one very particular “thing,” about him is that he is protective of his sister Ella.  He wants the best for her. Ella, you are lucky to have such a sibling. Keoni likes to listen to all kinds of music.  He says his taste in music ranges from Jazz to country to classical. And depending on the season, you might find Keoni spending his free time, swimming, four wheeling, or having a snowball fight. However you will find him sketching all the time.  He has over 13 notebooks filled with sketches.  One of his favorite things to do is listen to a song and interpret the song through his art.

Keoni likes to watch T.V. with his sister. Their latest, “go to,” is Mountain Monsters. The episode about the Cherokee Devil is his favorite.  He says he’s a believer. Sushi has been his food of choice lately. Wild Ginger in Provo or Sushi House in American Fork are places he likes to go for his spider roll, California roll and Firecracker. His color of choice is blue. He likes watching and playing rugby and hockey.  He really enjoys swimming.

His favorite class this year has been being a TA for the preschool. Memorable moments of his high school career are the firsts, first date, first prom, first dance. He says they were a blast. Keoni plans on going on a mission for his church, then going to Snow College to study engineering. One thing on his bucket list is to one day build a sailboat and sail the world. A quote that has kept Keoni going many a times is, “Bravery is not the absence of fear, but the action in the face of fear.” - Mark Messier.

Keoni has had quite a year with obstacles and drawbacks that he has had to face and push through. You would never know because of his positive outlook. He is a young man that has a bright future and we wish him all the best! 

Tehya Amundson, SHHS Graduate

Teyha Amundson, a senior at Salem Hills High School is often described as funny by her friends, witty by her mother, goofy by her brother and an awesome student by her teachers.  She nailed it! She said she thought it would depends on who she is with what they would say and she was right.  We are going to have to add the word, insightful to the list. Teyha is a homebody but she does like to hang out with friends.  They like to watch movies. Some of her favorites are Sixteen Candles and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. What do you want to bet she know most of the lines? She likes funny movies and those two are definitely hilarious.

When asked what her favorite foods are, Teyha immediately said curry - Indian Food.  She likes Bombay House in Provo but also likes to go to a restaurant in Payson. Crazy, it used to be a pet shop then three or four other restaurants before it sold Indian Food. Tehya’s color of choice is grey. Her favorite classes in high school were all the art classes. She took every art class offered. A memorable experience was when she ended up on the golf team.  They thought she was a natural when she tried out and ended up on Varsity, then they realized it had been her lucky day, a fluke. She went to every practice but never played. It will look good on scholarship applications - "Member of the Varsity Golf Team." 

After graduation, Tehya is planning on going to Snow College.  She is working hard to save her money in order to go. She received the Title VI Parent Committee scholarship.  That should help some, but she knows that she has a summer full of work, work, work. One thing on her bucket list is to one day go to Australia. When things get tough, she finds herself saying to herself, “You got this.” And she finds that when friends are having difficulties, she finds herself saying to them, “I got you.” What a wonderful friend. Teyha, we have no doubt you’ve got it!  We end with this for you:

Sloane: What are we going to do?

Ferris: The question isn't "what are we going to do," the question is "what aren't we going to do?"

Isaiah Strosser - Rugby, Cruising, Grilled Chicken!

Isaiah’s friends say that he is funny, loyal and caring. He says that his mom would say he is rough around the edges. And then again some would say he is determined and focused. All of these words describe this charismatic senior. He is all about Rugby and is on his way to Nationals with his team this coming week. Kansas City here comes Isaiah!  He lives for the sport. Isaiah says he’s a simple guy who loves the game of rugby, hanging out with friends, long boarding, cruising and once in while taking a bet. He jumped into a lake once with his clothes on, on a chilly late autumn evening. He won ten bucks.  

It is Isaiah’s hope that Kansas City has good Mexican food because that is his favorite.  He especially likes grilled chicken, Mexican style. His favorite color is red.  He says it’s the alpha color. His favorite class in high school was weight training. He doesn’t watch T.V. much, however likes the movie Logan and sometimes will sit and watch Tosh.O. One thing on his bucket list is to be “ripped,” like Hugh Jackman, the Wolverine.

Memorable times attending Springville High School for Isaiah are when he and his friends would hang out. Isaiah plans on working for a year and, yes, still playing rugby. He would like to go to college. One of his favorite quotes is, “No matter how good you are to people, some will criticize you, ignore those who hate you, be yourself.”

Isaiah is Lakota/Caucasian. He is proud of heritage. And is never ashamed to acknowledge his roots. Congratulations Isaiah on graduating. Good luck at nationals and to quote Donald Pierce, “I’m a fan, by the way.”


Courtany Durrant

Courtany Durrant is a fun senior who splits her time between Payson High School and the ALC in Springville. She thoroughly enjoys her digital media classes at the ALC. And, her favorite class at Payson High is English. Courtany’s friends and family describe her as being artistic, a good listener, a willing helper and a true animal lover.  She has three dogs, two dachshunds and one Yorkie. Don’t tell Rosy or Daisy, but Slinky one of her dachshunds is her favorite.

In her free time Courtany likes to draw and dye her hair all different colors. Her favorite movie or should we say movies are the Fast and Furious series.  She has seen #8 six times thus far! Here’s the Native American reference in that movie, “I will beat you like a Cherokee drum!” - The Rock.

While watching the Fast and Furious movies for the umpteenth time, she might be found eating her favorite food, Macaroni and Cheese. When asked about her favorite colors she said blue because she can’t see light colors. Even though the Steelers don’t wear blue, they are favorite Football team to watch.  She also loves watching hockey, preferably the Penguins.

Courtany has loved her 3-d animation and English classes during high school.  They have challenged her and given her so much satisfaction. High School is full of memories, some quite random. She remembers in her sophomore year a student kicking and kicking the vending machine because he didn’t get what he paid for. She said it's just a crazy thing that comes to her mind sometimes. Which leads to one of her favorite quotes, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” That quote will sometimes come to her mind when people are doing crazy things.

After graduation she plans on working, and taking a year off. However, she does want to go to Disneyland. After the year's end, she plans on going to MATC for digital media. We end with a final quote from the Fast and Furious just for Courtany, “I live my life a quarter mile at a time. “ -Dom Toretto

Courtany has talent, smarts and savvy.  She will definitely have a great life!  Go Courtany!

Inspiring Bailey Johnson!

“I wanted to prove people wrong,” said Bailey when she was asked about how she was able to finish more than 10 units of classes during her fourth term. The counselors and teachers at Landmark said she was remarkable, determined and just kept working. Bailey who is Navajo/Caucasian moved to our school district deficient enough classes that graduation by the end of July was a maybe, but finishing three weeks before end of school seemed an impossibility.  But Bailey said, “Moving to this school was different, This school inspired me. They knew my name and they cared about me and they had confidence in me. I’ve had so many people before tell me that I couldn’t do it or that I didn’t have what it takes. I wanted to prove people wrong.  I worked until 8:00 at night after I would come home from school. I worked weekends. All I did was school. I cried when I finished the last class.”  Bailey did the extraordinary. She finished her deficient classes last week, three weeks before the end of school.  She proved that we can do the impossible. One of Bailey’s favorite quotes is “Stay Strong,”

Bailey’s family and friends say she is pretty shy, and she needs to get to know you before she will open up and start being herself. She usually keeps to herself most of the time. She loves to dance, she used to take up to three dance classes at a time. She says her Dad’s side of the family is pretty artistic.  Bailey doesn’t watch T.V. but loves to eat Chinese and Mexican food.  Her favorite is homemade tamales. Her color of choice is black.  When she was younger she loved to play football and basketball. Bailey’s favorite class is English, it has always been her favorite. The most memorable moment in high school was when she finished her last packet.

She hasn’t thought about the future, she has been concentrating on the here and now, determined to finish her classes. However, she would like to go skydiving sometime in her life. Another one of her favorite quotes is, " I want to wake up every morning and inspire myself to do better." Bailey is an inspiration to us all. She has what it takes to finish what she starts, a tremendous skill that will forever come in handy. Yay Bailey.

Amber Fregoso - Springville High School Senior

Amber Fregoso is one of our fantastic seniors from Springville High School. She is Lakota/Mexican. Her friends and family would say that she is shy when you first meet her but don’t be misled, because once she gets to know you and you get to know her, you will say she is outgoing, loud and joyful.  She is also very caring and has a way of knowing if someone is having a hard time. In her free time she likes to relax with a good movie or just taking a nap.  She also like sitting outside and listening to music. Her music tastes vary from modern music to classical, especially piano pieces. You might find Amber watching Bob’s Burgers on Netflix and enjoying some fettuccine alfredo, a good salad and steak.  Those are her favorite foods.

 If given a choice of colors she would choose black, lavender and baby pink. She enjoys running and playing volleyball.  She doesn’t shy away from things that she struggles with.  And even though Math was a struggle, especially after her accident, it has been her favorite class. Moments she will remember in high school are the football games and pep rallies. She plans on going to UVU this fall and is well on her way because she received the Title VI Parent Committee scholarship this year.

One thing on Amber’s bucket list is one day going skydiving.  She thinks it would be a thrill. Amber is a senior who will be missed. Good luck and keep smiling Amber, the world is a better place because of people like you. We leave you with Amber’s favorite quote.  “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn,” - Benjamin Franklin.

Andrew Letzerich - Amazing Senior

Introducing an amazing senior from Maple Mountain High School. Andrew Letzerich; Cherokee, Hispanic, Caucasian. He is very proud of his ancestry and is continually learning about each culture he comes from. Andrew’s friends describe him as kind and a leader.  He also is very loyal to his family and friends and would give anything to help them. Sometimes we forget that the greatest contributions we can make are to our own family and friends. 

 In his spare time Andrew loves to ride his motorcycle, work on his friend’s farm and weld. His favorite movie because of its spotlight on motorcycles is, Sons of Anarchy. A quote from that series, “Not my place to judge, we all fall down, it’s about how we get up.” – Gemma.

 Andrew loves Arroz con pollo and Indian Tacos. Not necessarily in that order. His color of choice is orange and his favorite sport is football. His favorite class in school is welding. One of his most memorable moments in high school was during his sophomore year, watching his friend’s brother jump from the school balcony above the lunch room. No students were hurt during this crazy stunt.

 After he graduates, he plans to go on a mission for his church and then return to college. He was one of the recipients of the Title VI parent committee scholarship this past week. One of the items on his bucket list is to one day go skydiving. Andrew has things to do, places to go and people to influence. Good Luck Andrew on all your endeavors and congratulations on receiving your diploma.

We leave you with a short line from one of Andrew’s favorite quotes/scripture: “. . . my cup runneth over.” 

April Newsletter

Please download the April Newsletter.

Julius Chavez telling about the Navajo wedding basket.
(more pictures available)

Many families, students and teachers in the Nebo School District braved the snowy blast from Mother Nature on Monday night to attend the Title VI Storytelling Night held at Larsen Elementary.  It was truly an authentic, accurate and enriching event. Holding with tradition; on such nights where the land is covered with snow and the cold sends you inside, Native American families throughout our country would gather together in their hogans, tipis, wickiups, long houses or pueblos and tell stories, give counsel and sing songs. And so it was on Monday Night. We welcomed our district family to Larsen Elementary.

The evening started with a dinner of Indian Tacos.  Some just wanted frybread with honey butter. But, there was no honey butter, cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar to be had, because, traditionally a pinch of salt is the only topping put on frybread.  Some tried it, others ate their frybread plain, a new experience for their palette.

 The Nebo Performing Arts Group entertained during the dinner hour with songs and dances they learn on Wednesdays at the homework lab held every week.  These students recently represented Nebo School District on the hill by invitation from our Superintendent, Rick Nielsen. On this night, the students were able to share their cultural knowledge and yes, dance gratitude for the moisture that the land just received. Among the dancers, our own two beautiful Nebo princesses shined with grace. Jenna Woods, Navajo and Tava Groves, Hopi-Ute are examples of strength and vitality of Native American youth in our district.

 The highlight of the evening were two storytellers.  Julius Chavez weaved his telling through how things came to be and into how young men and women should carry themselves. He sang songs that told their own stories and ended with a charge for all to search out what the creator has set them here on earth to do. Larry Cesspooch told humorous personal stories of his early life experiences.  Through these tellings, the audience was able to reflect on how different yet similar childhood is.  He explained how the six fingered flute came to the Ute people. He also gave counsel on finding your strengths and allowing these gifts to carry you through life. Both storytellers enthralled those in attendance.

 The Storytelling Night was attended by many Native American families. But, the most pleasant surprise was the attendance of many non-native families. Our own superintendent Rick Nielsen and director of federal programs, Mike Larsen with his family joined in the gathering. Others came with friends or even alone. Many of these were students whose teachers offered extra credit for this event. Applause to these students who were willing to step out of their comfort zones even if it was for a few extra points. Their authentic learning will last longer than the class. One student said, “Where can I go to another one of these?” An indication that hands were stretched across cultures.

 A very special thank you to those teachers who saw this event as an opportunity for students to experience firsthand traditional ways.  And, most importantly these teachers didn’t limit learning about Native Americans to a three-week unit in their history books last fall. It is to such educators we say, the world looks bright. Thank you also goes to Larsen Elementary principal, Cami Thomas, who saw the worth of such a night.  She dove right in and learned how an Indian Taco is made by helping serve those who gathered. She also experienced Native humor which might still make her chuckle.   

 All in all it was a memorable event. It happens every winter, storytelling; now in apartments, brick homes, condos, and yes, schools.  Just as it should be.


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