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CK schools honor Native American graduates
The Klahowya Secondary School Auditorium hosted Monday the 6th Annual Native American Honoring Ceremony for 14 Central Kitsap School District graduating seniors with tribal heritages.
Klahowya principal Ryan Stevens, from the Jamestown S’Klallam and Elwah tribes, said leaving home after high school can be lonely and sad at times.
“You might find things that make you angry,” Stevens said. “Don’t let the anger become bitterness.”
Stevens encouraged the graduates to focus on good energy, and to stay in touch with their loved ones.
David Boxley, a school teacher and Tsimshian artist from Metlakatla in Southeast Alaska, spoke about the importance of education in leveling the playing field for Native Americans and Alaska Natives who are trying to succeed in the non-tribal world.
“When a young person makes himself a success, it makes all of us a success,” Boxley said.
Boxley thanked S’Klallam tribal members for welcoming other tribes to the event in their ancestral land.
Boxley led the Git Hoan dancers in three songs. After the presentation of graduates, Joe Price and the Port Gamble S’Klallam Family Singers performed.
Klahowya seniors Jessica Vonscheele and Janessa Vonscheele said they’re excited to graduate.
The sisters, Alaskan Alutiiqs, helped found the school’s Native Eagles Clan of Many Tribes club, which brings students with native heritage together. The girls said they hope the club continues after they graduate and move on in life.
Jessica Vonscheele plans to go to cosmetology school. She said one of the biggest fears she’s dealing with is what the economy will be like.
Janessa Vonscheele wants to someday become a veterinary technician.
“Natives deal with stereotypes,” she said, “And you have to push yourself and prove people wrong. I’m going to graduate high school and I’m going to graduate college.”