Monday, October 2, 2023

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Chief Manuelito Scholars: Words of thanks, plans for future


The 133 students who were awarded the Chief Manuelito Scholarship were offered the opportunity to make statements in the Navajo Times.

The scholars, who will receive $3,500 per semester or term, or $7,000 annually, who replied are featured here.

My family inspired, pushed me

Mickaye Begay

PAGE, Ariz. – From Mikaye Begay: “I want to thank my family for all of their love and support thus far in my education. They have inspired me and pushed me towards my goals!

“I also want to thank the Navajo Nation for their generous scholarship.

“After graduating from Brigham Young University, I have plans to attend medical school or physical therapy school to pursue my dreams in the medical field.”

‘I wanted to challenge myself’

Carla Nez

KAYENTA – Yá’át’ééh, Carla Nez yinishyé. Shi éí Yé’ii Dine’é Táchii’nii nishlii dóó Ta’neeszahnii báshíshchíín. Shí éí Tódinéeshzhee dishlii’ naashii. K’ad éí Stanford di shighan. Wódahdi ólta’ígíí Stanford University di ííníshta’. Ahxéhee’.

“Hello, my name is Carla Nez from Kayenta, Arizona. I’m currently a freshman at Stanford University, a part of the class of 2025. I am an alumna of Monument Valley High School.

“I decided to study at Stanford because I wanted to challenge myself academically and to fulfill my journey of higher education.

“I am honored to be selected as a Chief Manuelito Scholar.”

A job that aligns with my calling

Clarissa Butler

WOOSTER, Ohio– From Clarissa Butler: “Just wanted to give a huge thank-you to the ONNSFA for presenting me with such a wonderful and generous scholarship.
“Through this scholarship I am able to learn more and find a job that aligns with my calling.

“Another big thank you to my family that gives endless support to me and my dreams.”

Your wisdom, love provided my foundation

Nizhonie Denetsosie-Gomez

PRESTON MESA, Ariz. – Yá’át’ééh shik’éí dóó shidine’é. Nizhonie Denetsosie-Gomez yinishyé. Tsé Deeshgizhnii nishlii. Dóó Naakaii Dine’é báshíshchíín. Kinyaa’áanii éí dashicheii. Naakaii Dine’é éí dashinálí.

Shim?? éí Serena Denetsosie wolyé dóó shizhé’é Greg Gomez III wolyé. Preston Mesa d?????? t’áá ‘íiyisíí naashii. Dartmouth College di íínishta’. Ákót’éego éí Dine’ nishlii.

“T’áá ‘íiyisíí ahxéhee to all of my loved ones who have helped me on my path to higher education. Your wisdom, strength, love, and traditional teachings have provided the foundation I’ve needed to balance myself and overcome challenges in life and reach this goal.

“The valuable lessons you earned and shared have helped me better understand the world and my purpose in it.

“To shi másáni, Nana, aunties, yáázhs and shimá doo shizhé’é who have modeled for me grace and resilience while guiding me with unconditional love.

“Every meal, bruised knee and encouraging words, and traditional teachings, in ceremonial songs, powerful prayers and in our traditional medicines to help me stay in beauty while walking this path.


‘I plan to obtain my master’s degree in nursing’

Vanessa Gene

PINON, Ariz. – Yá’át’ééh shi éí Vanessa Gene yinishyé. Ta’neeszahnii nishlii, Tl’ááshchí’í báshíshchíín. Kinyaa’áanii dashicheii, Táchii’nii dashinálí. Shimá dóó shizhé’é éí Tonyia dóó Byron Wesley.

“I am from Pinon, Arizona. I will be continuing my undergraduate education at Arizona State University for nursing. Then I plan to obtain my master’s degree in nursing to become a nurse practitioner.

“I come from a very tight-knit community. They have always been very supportive and helpful. I have had many teachers and staff encourage me and made learning more enjoyable.

“At a young age I was taught my Navajo songs, prayers, and participated in ceremonies. It all taught me how to care for my mental, spiritual, and physical health. That’s how I was able to achieve my biggest accomplishments, through prayer.

“My education and Navajo traditions are both my biggest safe spaces. I want to learn more and participate as much as I can. They are very special to me and will get me far in life. I am glad to further my education and be given the opportunity to come back to my Diné.

“I’d like to first say thank you to the Office of Navajo Nation Scholarship & Financial Assistance for this chance at a higher education. It is an honor to be a recipient of the Chief Manuelito Scholarship, and congratulations to all my peers.

“Lastly, thank you to my family, close friends, educators and many relatives for the motivation and unconditional support. Ahxéhee’ ntsaago.”

Thank you, grandpas, grandmas, aunties

Aja Nez

TEESTO, Ariz. – From Aja Nez: “Thank you to my family and friends, you have been my biggest support and strongest push towards my future.

“I want to thank all my grandpas for all their prayers and blessings that were bestowed on me. To my grandmothers, thank you for encouraging me and giving me strength to become a better woman every day.

“For my greatest role models, my aunties, that showed me that there is a bigger world around me and that I can accomplish more as I grow.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today, if not for the continued support from everyone in my life.”

Thank you all for support, investment in my future

Peshlakai Roan

WIDE RUINS, Ariz. – From Peshlakai Roan: “I am sincerely grateful and honored to have been selected as a recipient of the Chief Manuelito Scholarship.

“Thank you for your generosity, which has allowed me to attend the University of Arizona and has given me the opportunity to further my education and get one step closer to my dream career of being a doctor.

“I would like to thank my family for always encouraging me to do my best in school. I would like to also thank my school community and the administration for keeping my education environment a safe space and allowing my knowledge to grow.

“Once again thank you to all for your continued support and investment in my future.

I plan to one day become a doctor

Gabriella Venegas

INDIAN WELLS, Ariz.– From Gabriella Venegas: “I am sincerely honored and appreciative to have been selected as the recipient of the Chief Manuelito Scholarship.

Thank you for your generosity, which has allowed me to attend University of Arizona as a first-generation student.

“I plan to pursue a career in the surgical field and one day become a doctor.

“I would like to thank my family for encouraging me to always do my best in school and for supporting my decisions.

“Once again, thank you to all for your continued support and investment in my future.

Thank you mom, sisters, cheii, masani

Grace Cleveland

GOODYEAR, Ariz. – From Grace Cleveland: “I graduated from Millennium High School last spring. I would like to thank my mom, Colaine Curtis, my sisters, Cheyenne and Isabel, and my cheii and masaní, Eddie and Lena Curtis, for all of the support, love, and advice they have given me over the years and continue to encourage me to do my best.

“My goal is to obtain my education and make an impact, not only in our communities and for my people, but for all indigenous people across the country. Thank you!”

Creating anything starting with a concept

Kyle McLiverty

FRUITLAND, N.M. – From Kyle McLiverty: “I’m majoring in visual design with an emphasis in graphic design at Northern Arizona University. And I am loving it!

“To create anything I want just with the start of a concept is truly wonderful. I still have so much to learn and grow as I continue my education.

“I would like to thank my sister and my mother, and my aunties and my uncle. They were so much help when I was growing up, and I appreciate all the work they did for me.

“Thank you to everyone else who assisted me in my education and my life.”


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