Two Eagle graduates fly off
The days of leisure are now passed and the future awaits the Two Eagle
River School Class of 2010. (B.L. Azure photo)
PABLO — The futures of the Two Eagle River
School Class of 2010 lie in wait. Their pasts are now the foundation
upon which they will spring forth to unknown destinations. On Sunday
the Eagles Nest was packed with well-wishers who bid good-bye to the
past and bon voyage to the future of the 18 Two Eagle graduates.
One by one the Two Eagle graduates were introduced
as they sauntered to the dais amid cheers from family, friends and
acquaintances. At a time like this everyone is family: the Two Eagle
River School family, it was their last day together and it was a good
The Yamncut drum opened the graduation ceremonies
with an honor song that was followed by a prayer given by Dennis
Two Eagle River School Superintendent Clarice King
then welcomed all and introduced the commencement speaker, Rob
McDonald, Communications Director for the Confederated Salish and
McDonald said he wasn’t sure why King asked him to
do the commencement address because he doesn’t have too much worldly
wear on his radials. However, salt and pepper hair follicles and being
in the loop when it comes to the tribal government was enough to
qualify him as a good candidate to address the students.
Two Eagle River School Superintendent Clarice King presents Japanese
foreign exchange student Shun Ikegai with his diploma. (B.L. Azure
“Clarice said, ‘You’re on the frontlines.
You know the issues,’” McDonald said before firing off a list of
professions and trade skills that the CSKT needs now and well into the
McDonald said that whatever employment path the
students choose they require good communication skills and respect for
the people they serve.
“No matter what you do, have fun doing it,”
McDonald said. “Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Floss. Don’t
waste time on jealousy. Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when
they are gone. Believe me. Read directions even if you don’t plan on
following them. Respect your elders and don’t’ expect anyone else to
take care of you.”
Jerry Brown followed McDonald at the lectern
telling the gathered that the Indian people have always had education
as a prominent part of their culture. “We’ve been here for 16,000 years
we must know something about education,” he said before introducing a
pair of Two Eagle students that were awarded the prestigious and
financially hefty Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Millennium
Tianna Marie Ness and James Edward Maestas III
were among five Montana high school graduates to receive the
scholarships. The scholarships will fund their post high school
education all the way through the masters level as long as they
maintain a full load of classes and meet the required grade point
Ness said she plans on attending Salish Kootenai
College to begin work on an elementary education teacher degree with a
focus on teaching the Salish language to young students. She will spend
at least one year at SKC learning the college regimen before
considering other colleges to pursue a degree.
Tiana Ness and James Maestas III, winners of the Gates Millennium
Scholarship, led the Two Eagle Class of 2010 processional. (B.L. Azure
Maestas said he also plans on attending SKC
in order to get a good grip on the rigors of college life. Then he said
he would “enroll at an expensive college” to pursue a teaching degree.
Maestas said he wants work with youth and potentially become a
There were 5,000 applicants nationally and 1,000
were awarded throughout America with five in Big Sky Country. The had
to muster their way through a long laborious application process that
included, among other things, the writing of eight essays.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation began the
Gates Millennium Scholars program in 1999. It provides full financial
support to low-income minority students to help them overcome the
numerous challenges of postsecondary education. The goal of the program
is to provide full funding of college tuition, fees, books and housing
for 20,000 low-income minority scholars by 2020.
According to research done by the Institute for
Higher Education Policy, the Gates Millennium Scholars program
demonstrates that reducing the financial burden on low-income minority
students leads to enhanced persistence, college completion and
community engagement after college.
“Despite the fact that many deserving students are
academically and socially prepared for the challenges of higher
education, students from low-income families who are minorities
continue to face barriers to accessing and completing a postsecondary
degree in a timely manner,” said IHEP President Michelle Asha Cooper,
Ph.D. “The Gates Millennium Scholars program is an excellent example of
how to target students and provide the financial resources needed to
overcome one of the largest barriers low-income, minority students face
and expand their opportunities in pursuing a quality education.”
To become a GMS Scholar, students must be a
citizen or permanent resident of the United States, demonstrate
financial need by showing eligibility for a federal Pell Grant, and
have at least a 3.3 grade point average in high school.
Jerry Brown presents Karsyn Wilder with her TERS Class of 2010 diploma.
(B.L. Azure photo)
Each student is nominated by a teacher or
counselor and must compose an essay providing insights into their
personal characteristics. The essays are scored using a set of
non-cognitive criteria, such as leadership and citizenship qualities,
positive self-concept, realistic self-appraisal, availability of a
strong support network, and ability to handle racism. These qualities
are believed to help students during their postsecondary experiences as
well as increase minority access and leadership at higher education
Then Brown and King handed out the diplomas to the
18 TERS graduates.
The Two Eagle River School Class of 2010: Jaylen
Ren’ee Carpentier; Selah Marlene Carpentier; Jacinta Elizabeth Chief
Stick; Adele Louise Frost; Kathleen Rose Howard; Shun Ikegai; James
Edward Maestas III; Mona Meyer; Samantha Lee Ann Ness; Tiana Marie
Ness; Lonnie Kass Curtis Old Shoes; Andrew Bennett Ostrander; Cedric
Jaylin Russell; John Emery Steele; Ashton Sharain Swaney; Jordon Piya
Wilder; Karsyn Keann Wilder; and Douglas Leo Wynne.