St. Bonaventure students go to fair for first time


School supplies litter ground as kids scramble.

Navajo Times | Paul Natonabah
Kids scramble for school supplies during a game at Ashkii Happy Day at the Navajo Nation Fair.

Not even a bus breakdown could stop all 160 students of St Bonaventure School in Thoreau from attending Ashkii Happy’s Kids Day during the 71st Navajo Nation Fair.

This was the school’s first time ever going to the popular event that is reserved for youth, as well as elders. “It’s the largest Native fair and many of our children don’t have the opportunity to experience that,” said Tracie Lee, principal of St. Bonaventure. “I wanted the kids to know that Window Rock is alive and there’s many things to do.”

Lee said the school includes preschool to 8th grade and when the bus broke down students didn’t mind crowding into the other buses, as long as they were able to get to the fair. Lee and her secretary even drove their own vehicles in case they had to give any chaperones a ride.

Ashkii Happy Day is a pivotal day because schools from all over the Navajo Nation travel to Window Rock to partake in the festivities. Usually the fairgrounds are filled with children wearing colorful shirts, so they can identify their group, on Ashkii Happy Day. Special events are also incorporated, and this year a family circus travelled from Florida just to perform for the students.

“I liked the pirate. She climbed up the rope and she hanged on,” said first-grader Reyes Tabaha. His teacher Autumn Martinez said the family circus was what the kids enjoyed the most. Martinez, in her second year at St. Bonaventure, has taught at other schools that would attend Kids Day, so it was a nice surprise when she found out her students would finally be able to have a chance to go as well.

“It was a short visit but they were able to enjoy the festivities,” said Martinez. “They got to see the acrobats and pirates, they also briefly met the president and vice president. They gave a shout-out to us in the stands.”

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Categories: Community

About Author

Arlyssa Becenti

Arlyssa Becenti reports on Navajo Nation Council, Business, Fort Defiance Agency, New Mexico State politics and Art/fashion. Her clans are Nát'oh dine'é Táchii'nii, Bit'ahnii, Kin łichii'nii, Kiyaa'áanii. She’s originally from Fort Defiance and has a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University. Before working for the Navajo Times she was a reporter for the Gallup Independent. She can be reached at