Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

October 14, 2010

Two-dozen students graduate and choose their future

RONAN Change can be good and it certainly is when a person has the choice to make changes. Representative John Fleming (D), HD 12, was at Kicking Horse Job Corps and addressed students, staff and family members present at their recent graduation.

Fleming, a second-generation legislator who is currently seeking reelection said he was there to talk about changes (and destiny). Representative Fleming reaffirmed that their destiny was about choices each will make - where to live and work, to get married or not. Ultimately, he said, you're in control of your own life by the choices you make.

Fleming recalled part of Senator Mike Mansfield's speech to American youth in 1989: "We are living in a fast changing world. You are young enough to keep up with it... You haven't been given much of a legacy, but you have been given a great challenge and what you do will determine what your successors will be."

When Mike Mansfield came to Great Falls, Montana in 1910, across the Continental Divide, the Flathead Reservation had changed and was being carved away by homesteaders. Salish, Kootenai and Pend d'Oreille Indians' lives changed. Mike Mansfield was seven years old and his life was forever changed too. After he had lost his mother, his father sent him and his two sisters to live in Montana with family. Mansfield mucked his way out of the mines in Butte and became the nation's longest serving Senate Majority Leader. Mansfield had indeed embraced change.

"Life brings changes but you can be in charge," Fleming says.

For two-dozen Kicking Horse graduates, whatever their choices, they have proven that they can succeed, says Tom Vail, Kicking Horse Job Corps Academic Manager.

Like the young couple at graduation, Ian and Maryinna, their lives were forever changed and they made a choice to make a life together. In front of their peers, Ian proposed and Maryinna accepted, while many witnessed, cheered and clapped.

Kicking Horse offers several graduation dates throughout the year and the September graduation was unique.

Ron Oldman traveled from Arapaho, Wyoming to attend his son's graduation and to sing an honor song for the graduates. The elder Oldman said that he believed that when he is asked to help, he never refuses.

Kicking Horse staff member Trudie Garcia watched as her grandson, Ryan Hardy, accepted two certificates for completing his training.

Graduation wouldn't be complete without listing the graduates and their accomplishments and how sweet it was for one culinary arts student. Actually that's her last name. Lauren Sweet, 22, daughter of Carol Jean and Randy Sweet from Edgewater, Colorado; graduated from Kicking Horse Job Corps with a certificate in Culinary Arts. Lauren completed her training in 11 months. While a student at Kicking Horse, Lauren held the following leadership responsibilities: dorm representative in student government, new student guide, and Corpsman aide.

Lauren volunteered and assisted with meal preparations for wakes at the Longhouse in St. Ignatius in her spare time. Lauren plans to go to Treasure Island in San Francisco, CA for advance training in Culinary Arts Program.

Tyndale Tallman, 20, member of the Navajo Nation and the son of Julius and Sharon Tallman, of St. George, Utah graduated with a certificate in Diesel Mechanics. He completed his training in 29 months. Tyndale also held Room leader, new student guide, and Safety Officer leadership positions. Tyndale plans to attend advance training at United Auto Workers in Clearfield, Utah.

Anthony Owen Johnson, 21, son of Owen and Ginny Johnson, of Draper, Utah graduated with a certificate in Diesel Mechanics. He completed his training in 12 months and held several leadership roles for Kicking Horse. Anthony also plans to go to advance training at UAW in Clearfield.

Shelby North Peigan (Shortman), 18, member of the Fort Belknap/ Sisseton Wahepeton Sioux Tribe; and daughter of "Birdie" Darlene Shortman and Roberto Sanchez graduated with a certificate in Culinary Arts. Shelby completed her training in 18 months and also earned her GED and High School Diploma. Her mother also attended Shelby's graduation. Shelby's plans included going to work and going to SIPI next fall in Arizona.

Gregory Oldman, 24, member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe, and the son of Ron Oldman and Theresa Oldman-Guina of St. Stephens, WY graduated with a certificate in Culinary Arts. Gregory completed his training in 10 months and was a dorm leader, Safety Officer, REC aide, New Student Guide, Corpsman aide, dorm representative and Vice President of Student Government.

In Greg's spare time, he also volunteered to cook at traditional wakes at the Longhouse in St. Ignatius and at The People's Center during Native American Awareness Week. Greg plans to work in construction and eventually work in the Culinary Arts field.

Monyee Wheeler, 19, graduated with a certificate in Culinary Arts. Monyee completed the training in 22 months. Monyee held the following leaderships: Student Body President, Student Body Vice President, Dorm Representative, Section Chief, and REC Section Chief. Monyee plans to continue in the culinary field, obtain his GED and go to college in Denver, Colorado.

Cassandra Stotts, 24, daughter of Mike and Ellen Stotts of Greeley, Colorado graduated with a certificate in Business Administration. Cassandra completed her training in five months. Cassandra worked as a Center Activities Office aide, CTS aide, Math Tutor, and New Student Guide. Cassandra plans to go to advance training at TCU in San Jose, CA.

Maryinna Carstens, 20, member of the Choctaw Nation and the daughter of Denise Hunt and Joseph Carstens graduated with certificates in Nursing Assistant and Phlebotomy. Maryinna completed her training in six months. Maryinna was a dorm leader, New Student Guide, and Math Tutor. Maryinna plans to marry Ian Holyoak and attend college in California to become a LPN.

Mathew Matheson, 23, graduated with a certificate in Clinical Medical Assistant. He completed his training in 12 months. Matthew held the following leaderships: Phone Aide, Corpsman aide, New Student Guide, Math Tutor, Room leader, and Section Chief. Matthew plans to attend Dixie State College for Pre-Med classes and become a Cardiologist.

Dillon Sinyard, 17, son of Dean Sinyard of Montrose, Colorado graduated with a certificate in Culinary Arts. Dillon completed his training in nine months and earned his GED and High School Diploma. Dillon also held the following leaderships: Room Leader, REC Section Chief, and New Student Guide. Dillon plans to seek employment in the Culinary Arts field in Montrose, CO.

Ryan Hardy, 20, the son of Ron and Robin Hardy of Ronan, and the grandson of George and Trudie Garcia, graduated with certificates in Nursing Assistant and Phlebotomy. Ryan completed his training in five months. Ryan plans to attend Salish Kootenai College as a first year Nursing student and will graduate from SKC in June of 2012.

Tiana McBride, 20, daughter of Natalie Jackson and Frank McBride of Great Falls, graduated with a certificate in Nursing Assistant. Tiana completed her training in six months. While a student at Kicking Horse, she held the following leadership roles: New Student Guide, Math Tutor and CAO aide. Tiana plans to work as a CNA and attend Great Falls College of Technology.

Ian Holyoak, 20, graduated with a certificate in Culinary Arts. He competed his training in five months. Ian also received his Driver's license, GED and High School Diploma. Ian held the following leaderships: REC Section Chief, Math Tutor, Student Body President, and Corpsman aide. Ian plans to wed Maryinna Carstens and join the Coast Guard and make their home in California.

Clarissa Redday, 18, member of Navajo Nation and the daughter of Jennifer Jane Joe of Aneth, Utah and Stanley Redday of Sisseton, South Dakota graduated with a certificate in Business Administration. She completed her training in 17 months. While a student at Kicking Horse, she held the following leaderships: Room Leader, Section Chief, Dorm Chief, New Student Guide, Corpsman aide, student welfare committee and educational aide. Clarissa also plans to attend advanced training at TCU in San Jose, CA.

Jessica Williams, 25, the daughter of Michele Wilkie of Grand Junction, Colorado graduated with a certificate in Business Administration. She completed her training in only four months and still managed to be a New student Guide, REC aide, CTS aide, and Phone aide. She plans to join several others and receive advanced training at TCU in San Jose, CA and then relocate to Orlando, Florida.

Michaelene Sam, 21, member of the Tohono O'Odham Tribe, and the daughter of Michelle Ortega of Sells, Arizona graduated with a certificate in Business Administration. She held the following leadership roles: Room Leader and CTS aide in her eight months on center. Michaelene plans to attend Tohono O'Odham Community College for Early Childhood Development.

Hunter Ewing, 20, the son of Janet and Keith Ewing of Eaton, Colorado graduated with a certificate in Culinary Arts. He completed his training in 11 months and earned his GED and High School Diploma. Hunter was a Room leader, Section Chief and New Student Guide and a Safety Officer. Hunter plans to go to college and work.

Pamela Sagg, 22, member of the Navajo Nation and the daughter of Roselyn Yellowman and Lucinda Pelt of Southern Utah, graduated with a certificate in Business Administration. She completed her training in 10 months and earned her GED. She held the following leadership positions: Room leader, Section Chief, Dorm Chief, Safety Officer, Dorm Representative and Corpsman Aide. Pamela plans to seek employment in Denver, CO.

Victoria Cdebaca, 19, daughter of Joann and Chris CdeBaca of Denver, Colorado graduated with a certificate in Nursing Assistant. She completed her training in 10 months and earned her GED. She was a leader in the dorms and was a New Student Guide. Victoria plans to live in Denver, Colorado and work at the Children's Hospital.

Janice Perrigo, 21, the daughter of Debbie and Kevin Perrigo of Colorado Springs, Colorado graduated with certificates in Nursing Assistant and Phlebotomy. She completed her training in 15 months. Janice also earned her GED and held leadership roles in the dorm and student government. She plans to go to Colorado Springs and continue her education in the medical field for RN.

Brandon Stauffer, 19, son of Tresa and Wesley Stauffer of Buena Vista, Colorado graduated with a certificate in Heavy Equipment Repair. Brandon completed his training in 12 months. Brandon worked as a Phone aide and New Student Guide. Brandon plans to go home and work for a heavy equipment repair company.

Evan Englert, 20, son of Linda Bohochik and Steven Englert of Colorado graduated with a certificate in Heavy Equipment Repair. Evan completed his training in 12 months and also earned his GED and High School Diploma. He plans to attend college in Colorado.

Jessica Eagle, 23, member of the Sisston/Wahpton Oyate Tribe, and the daughter of Michael Masoka and Donnette Eagle graduated with a certificate in Business Administration. She completed her training in six months. She held leadership positions in the dorm and was New Student Guide. Jessica plans to work and go to college for her Associates Degree.

Scott Andre, 20, son of Amie Andre of Thornton, CO and Alan Andre of Loveland, Colorado graduated with a certificate in Facilities Maintenance. He completed his training in 10 months and also earned his GED. Scott plans on attending Front Range Community College for HVAC in Thornton, Colorado.

It takes a whole lot of people to get these students where they are today. The national Job Corps program officially started back in 1964 and the program today serves approximately 100,000 youth annually.

While Kicking Horse Job Corps has changed from an all-Indian Job Corps Center - it still remains to be a training program operated by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

The staff members at Kicking Horse are always there for the students, and that part hasn't - and will never be changed.

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