Kicking Horse celebrates
with March graduation
PABLO — "Words cannot even begin to express the
feeling of accomplishment I have. I am graduating!" were the opening
remarks by Kicking Horse Job Corps graduating student, Dusty
Enick-James expression of words in his graduating
speech last week covered an overall theme for the 13 graduating KHJC
Enick-James told the crowd the feeling of
graduating from KHJC was like saying good-bye to his high school. He
had been a student at KHJC for a 18 months.
Enick-James shared that the new next step was like
saying hello to the rest of his life. He described the time and
training at KHJC appeared to be a lifetime at first, but now that it's
come to a close his reflections on the experience is a place that
completed who he is, and who he will become.
"We always give all the students a chance to say
something at graduation and Dusty grabbed at the opportunity right
away," said Shelly Fyant, KHJC Career Training Coordinator. "He is
usually very quiet and doesn't say much, so it was a nice surprise,"
To Enick-James KHJC was a focal point for his
future with the "lock-in" discipline enforced at the center kept him
distracted from the rest of the world, he shared.
21, member of the Crow Tribe and the
son Violet and Jonathan James of Tacoma, Washington, graduated with a
Heavy Equipment Operation certification. He received a driver's license
and OSHA forklift certifications and earned and held several leadership
positions, such as: dorm leader, safety officer, bay leader, section
chief, dorm chief and new student guide.
His next life step is to work at SK Construction,
"I never really understood what a major effect
Kicking Horse would have on my life," he said. "In the beginning I
thought it was pointless and a waste of time. Then reality sunk in and
I asked myself is this really what I want?" he added. Enick-James
shared how asking this question within himself prompted his thoughts
toward his younger siblings. "Is this what I want my younger siblings
to look up to? Do I want to follow in others' footsteps; become another
shadow or do I want to make my own path and become the light that cast
that shadow?" This was his turning point that shifted his future in
grabbing at opportunity. Now graduating, Enick-James says he is more
prepared for what lies ahead and determined to excel.
Josh Mitts, 20, from Custer, Montana was
another young man that wasted no time at preparing a few words for the
graduating guests. Mitts words of affirmation resonated a touch of
poetic rap style gratitude.
Mitts took the stage shortly after Enick-James
speech. He confidently looked the audience straight on and began the
bust on words of endless thanks for many things life brings that
followed into a verse stating, "Some people tend to forget how good we
really have had it here...each and every enrolled Kicking Horse student
represents an estimated $30,000 - ranging from food, training,
education, and all the wonderful extra-curricular activities we enjoy
so much. Job Corps has helped us get on our feet - and well at least
for me was truly a blessing in disguise and for that I am thankful."
Mitts took a quick pause waking the audience a little, "Success! The
difference between a successful person and others is not lack of
strength not lack of knowledge but rather a lack of will. If you don't
believe, you won't succeed - and if you don't apply you won't achieve."
Mitts punch line ended with a roar from the crowd as he left off with,
"Keep in mind that no one is going to live your life but you, so don't
let others drag you down. When they treat you like you're a nobody and
they call you a nobody, just take a deep breath, tell them nobody's
perfect, note the confused look on their face and go about your
business. Remember who you are and why you came here...I am Joshua Kent
Mitts, I am one of the 13 graduates and we approve this message."
Kicking Horse Job Corps Center is a Department of
Labor residential program, operated by the Confederate Salish and
Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Indian Reservation. The program has
operated over 40 years offering vocational training, GED and a High
School Diploma Program. The program is free to economically
disadvantaged students aged 16-24.
Students work at their own pace to complete the
training sooner or later than others, according to Fyant.
Graduations are held four times a year in March,
May, September and November, with two breaks in January and July,
according to Fyant.
Mitts completed a certificate in Office
Administration within 14 months. He received a driver's license and
earned a GED. Mitts also earned leadership rolls. He served as a dorm
representative and the Sergeant of Arms on the KHJC Student Government.
Mitts plan is to join the military.
Other graduates included: Charles Varelman, 22, of
Polson graduated with an Office Administration certificate completing
it in six months. Varelman plans to attend Salish Kootenai College.
Herron, 18, of Ronan, graduated with a
certificate in Diesel Mechanics completing in 12 months. Herron plans
to transfer to Clearfield, Utah for advanced training.
Marquez, 24, member of the Southern Paiute
Tribe graduates with a certificate in Diesel Mechanics completing the
program in 12 months. Marquez plans to gain more experience at a
mechanic shop in St. George, Utah.
Mills, 22, member of the Nenana Native
Village of Alaska graduated with a certificate in Business
Administration completing the program in 6 months. He plans to attend
MSU-Billings to become a phlebotomist.
Barrientos, 17, of Denver, Colorado
graduated with a certificate in Business Administration within 7
months. Barrientos plans to return to Denver and attend a local college
for medical billing and coding.
Carter, 20, of Colorado graduated with a
certificate in Office Administration, completing it within 8 months.
She plans on attending college in Colorado.
Sands, 19, of Wyoming graduated with a
certificate in Certified Nursing Assistant. She completed her
certification in 12 months. Sands plans to work as a CNA at Cheyenne
Regional Medical Center.
Jonny Rivera, 20, of Colorado graduated with a
certificate in Heavy Equipment Operation. He completed the program
within 24 months. Rivera plans on seeking work Denver, Colorado.
Turner, 21, of Ohio graduated with a
certificate in Facilities Maintenance. He completed the training in 10
months. He plans to return home assist in his father's business and
Padilla, 17, of Colorado graduated with a
certificate in Certified Nursing Assistant, completing the program in
11 months. She plans to attend college at Pima Medical Institute in
Colorado Springs, Colorado.
offered at Kicking Horse Job
Corps includes: Heavy Equipment Operation Certified Nursing Assistant,
Certified Medical Assistant, Office Administration, Facilities
Maintenance, Carpentry, Dental Assistant and Diesel Mechanics. For more
information or to schedule a tour of the center, call Kicking Horse Job
Corps at (406) 644-2217.