By Cary Rosenbaum of the CUJ
ALBUQUERQUE – The American Indian Graduate Center named CTUIR member Tyanna Van Pelt to its All Native American High School Academic Team.
The honor caught the 2020 Nixyaawii Community School (NCS) graduate by surprise.
“It made me happy,” she said. “Happy to see all the congratulations from my family and friends.
“I am so happy I can give something to the CTUIR.”
Michelle Van Pelt, the Career and Post-Secondary Advisor at NCS, recalled Tyanna’s incredible work ethic over four years.
“Since the beginning, you could tell that she was just driven academically,” she said. “She’s one of those really amazing students all-around. … The last year, she maintained her 4.0 by just making sure she’s studying and receiving mentorship. And I really liked the fact that she also encouraged other students if they needed help with scholarships.
“It was almost like giving back at that age.”
The AIGC’s annual list recognizes Native American students who have achieved an outstanding academic, artistic or leadership outcome.
“This year’s All Native American High School Academic Team exemplifies a dedication to education, and we are delighted to honor and congratulate them for their achievements both in and outside of the classroom,” said AIGC Executive Director Angelique Albert. “We are committed to empowering our students throughout their entire academic journey. They are the inspiration and motivation for the work that we do and watching them succeed is an indicator of our impact as an organization.”
Van Pelt plans to attain a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Oregon State University.
The award was an exciting honor, but she knows challenging times are ahead.
“There are going to be struggles and fights that will keep happening even after receiving awards like this,” she said. “So just keep remembering to fight for more.”
Other selections include Madelyn Buckley (Nome Eskimo Community, Whitworth University); Jackson Caves (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University); Ryan Duncan (Chickasaw Nation, University of Oklahoma); Caroline Dunn (Chickasaw Nation, Vanderbilt University); Bianca Hanly (Chickasaw Nation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology); Leighanna Jake (Navajo Nation, Humboldt University); Jasmine Kinney (Yurok Tribe of the Yurok Reservation, University of California Los Angeles); Chelbie Turtle (Cherokee Nation, Northeastern State University); Danyelie Vo (Chemehuevi Indian Tribe of the Chemehuevi Reservation, Northern Arizona University).