Nizhónígo Nee Ado’ááł (Have a beautiful day)

Courtany Durrant

Courtany Durrant is a fun senior who splits her time between Payson High School and the ALC in Springville. She thoroughly enjoys her digital media classes at the ALC. And, her favorite class at Payson High is English. Courtany’s friends and family describe her as being artistic, a good listener, a willing helper and a true animal lover.  She has three dogs, two dachshunds and one Yorkie. Don’t tell Rosy or Daisy, but Slinky one of her dachshunds is her favorite.

In her free time Courtany likes to draw and dye her hair all different colors. Her favorite movie or should we say movies are the Fast and Furious series.  She has seen #8 six times thus far! Here’s the Native American reference in that movie, “I will beat you like a Cherokee drum!” - The Rock.

While watching the Fast and Furious movies for the umpteenth time, she might be found eating her favorite food, Macaroni and Cheese. When asked about her favorite colors she said blue because she can’t see light colors. Even though the Steelers don’t wear blue, they are favorite Football team to watch.  She also loves watching hockey, preferably the Penguins.

Courtany has loved her 3-d animation and English classes during high school.  They have challenged her and given her so much satisfaction. High School is full of memories, some quite random. She remembers in her sophomore year a student kicking and kicking the vending machine because he didn’t get what he paid for. She said it's just a crazy thing that comes to her mind sometimes. Which leads to one of her favorite quotes, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” That quote will sometimes come to her mind when people are doing crazy things.

After graduation she plans on working, and taking a year off. However, she does want to go to Disneyland. After the year's end, she plans on going to MATC for digital media. We end with a final quote from the Fast and Furious just for Courtany, “I live my life a quarter mile at a time. “ -Dom Toretto

Courtany has talent, smarts and savvy.  She will definitely have a great life!  Go Courtany!

Inspiring Bailey Johnson!

“I wanted to prove people wrong,” said Bailey when she was asked about how she was able to finish more than 10 units of classes during her fourth term. The counselors and teachers at Landmark said she was remarkable, determined and just kept working. Bailey who is Navajo/Caucasian moved to our school district deficient enough classes that graduation by the end of July was a maybe, but finishing three weeks before end of school seemed an impossibility.  But Bailey said, “Moving to this school was different, This school inspired me. They knew my name and they cared about me and they had confidence in me. I’ve had so many people before tell me that I couldn’t do it or that I didn’t have what it takes. I wanted to prove people wrong.  I worked until 8:00 at night after I would come home from school. I worked weekends. All I did was school. I cried when I finished the last class.”  Bailey did the extraordinary. She finished her deficient classes last week, three weeks before the end of school.  She proved that we can do the impossible. One of Bailey’s favorite quotes is “Stay Strong,”

Bailey’s family and friends say she is pretty shy, and she needs to get to know you before she will open up and start being herself. She usually keeps to herself most of the time. She loves to dance, she used to take up to three dance classes at a time. She says her Dad’s side of the family is pretty artistic.  Bailey doesn’t watch T.V. but loves to eat Chinese and Mexican food.  Her favorite is homemade tamales. Her color of choice is black.  When she was younger she loved to play football and basketball. Bailey’s favorite class is English, it has always been her favorite. The most memorable moment in high school was when she finished her last packet.

She hasn’t thought about the future, she has been concentrating on the here and now, determined to finish her classes. However, she would like to go skydiving sometime in her life. Another one of her favorite quotes is, " I want to wake up every morning and inspire myself to do better." Bailey is an inspiration to us all. She has what it takes to finish what she starts, a tremendous skill that will forever come in handy. Yay Bailey.

Amber Fregoso - Springville High School Senior

Amber Fregoso is one of our fantastic seniors from Springville High School. She is Lakota/Mexican. Her friends and family would say that she is shy when you first meet her but don’t be misled, because once she gets to know you and you get to know her, you will say she is outgoing, loud and joyful.  She is also very caring and has a way of knowing if someone is having a hard time. In her free time she likes to relax with a good movie or just taking a nap.  She also like sitting outside and listening to music. Her music tastes vary from modern music to classical, especially piano pieces. You might find Amber watching Bob’s Burgers on Netflix and enjoying some fettuccine alfredo, a good salad and steak.  Those are her favorite foods.

 If given a choice of colors she would choose black, lavender and baby pink. She enjoys running and playing volleyball.  She doesn’t shy away from things that she struggles with.  And even though Math was a struggle, especially after her accident, it has been her favorite class. Moments she will remember in high school are the football games and pep rallies. She plans on going to UVU this fall and is well on her way because she received the Title VI Parent Committee scholarship this year.

One thing on Amber’s bucket list is one day going skydiving.  She thinks it would be a thrill. Amber is a senior who will be missed. Good luck and keep smiling Amber, the world is a better place because of people like you. We leave you with Amber’s favorite quote.  “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn,” - Benjamin Franklin.

Andrew Letzerich - Amazing Senior

Introducing an amazing senior from Maple Mountain High School. Andrew Letzerich; Cherokee, Hispanic, Caucasian. He is very proud of his ancestry and is continually learning about each culture he comes from. Andrew’s friends describe him as kind and a leader.  He also is very loyal to his family and friends and would give anything to help them. Sometimes we forget that the greatest contributions we can make are to our own family and friends. 

 In his spare time Andrew loves to ride his motorcycle, work on his friend’s farm and weld. His favorite movie because of its spotlight on motorcycles is, Sons of Anarchy. A quote from that series, “Not my place to judge, we all fall down, it’s about how we get up.” – Gemma.

 Andrew loves Arroz con pollo and Indian Tacos. Not necessarily in that order. His color of choice is orange and his favorite sport is football. His favorite class in school is welding. One of his most memorable moments in high school was during his sophomore year, watching his friend’s brother jump from the school balcony above the lunch room. No students were hurt during this crazy stunt.

 After he graduates, he plans to go on a mission for his church and then return to college. He was one of the recipients of the Title VI parent committee scholarship this past week. One of the items on his bucket list is to one day go skydiving. Andrew has things to do, places to go and people to influence. Good Luck Andrew on all your endeavors and congratulations on receiving your diploma.

We leave you with a short line from one of Andrew’s favorite quotes/scripture: “. . . my cup runneth over.” 

April Newsletter

Please download the April Newsletter.

Julius Chavez telling about the Navajo wedding basket.
(more pictures available)

Many families, students and teachers in the Nebo School District braved the snowy blast from Mother Nature on Monday night to attend the Title VI Storytelling Night held at Larsen Elementary.  It was truly an authentic, accurate and enriching event. Holding with tradition; on such nights where the land is covered with snow and the cold sends you inside, Native American families throughout our country would gather together in their hogans, tipis, wickiups, long houses or pueblos and tell stories, give counsel and sing songs. And so it was on Monday Night. We welcomed our district family to Larsen Elementary.

The evening started with a dinner of Indian Tacos.  Some just wanted frybread with honey butter. But, there was no honey butter, cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar to be had, because, traditionally a pinch of salt is the only topping put on frybread.  Some tried it, others ate their frybread plain, a new experience for their palette.

 The Nebo Performing Arts Group entertained during the dinner hour with songs and dances they learn on Wednesdays at the homework lab held every week.  These students recently represented Nebo School District on the hill by invitation from our Superintendent, Rick Nielsen. On this night, the students were able to share their cultural knowledge and yes, dance gratitude for the moisture that the land just received. Among the dancers, our own two beautiful Nebo princesses shined with grace. Jenna Woods, Navajo and Tava Groves, Hopi-Ute are examples of strength and vitality of Native American youth in our district.

 The highlight of the evening were two storytellers.  Julius Chavez weaved his telling through how things came to be and into how young men and women should carry themselves. He sang songs that told their own stories and ended with a charge for all to search out what the creator has set them here on earth to do. Larry Cesspooch told humorous personal stories of his early life experiences.  Through these tellings, the audience was able to reflect on how different yet similar childhood is.  He explained how the six fingered flute came to the Ute people. He also gave counsel on finding your strengths and allowing these gifts to carry you through life. Both storytellers enthralled those in attendance.

 The Storytelling Night was attended by many Native American families. But, the most pleasant surprise was the attendance of many non-native families. Our own superintendent Rick Nielsen and director of federal programs, Mike Larsen with his family joined in the gathering. Others came with friends or even alone. Many of these were students whose teachers offered extra credit for this event. Applause to these students who were willing to step out of their comfort zones even if it was for a few extra points. Their authentic learning will last longer than the class. One student said, “Where can I go to another one of these?” An indication that hands were stretched across cultures.

 A very special thank you to those teachers who saw this event as an opportunity for students to experience firsthand traditional ways.  And, most importantly these teachers didn’t limit learning about Native Americans to a three-week unit in their history books last fall. It is to such educators we say, the world looks bright. Thank you also goes to Larsen Elementary principal, Cami Thomas, who saw the worth of such a night.  She dove right in and learned how an Indian Taco is made by helping serve those who gathered. She also experienced Native humor which might still make her chuckle.   

 All in all it was a memorable event. It happens every winter, storytelling; now in apartments, brick homes, condos, and yes, schools.  Just as it should be.


Storytelling is a tradition among all Native Americans. This is a time to relate history, give counsel and explain natural phenomenon.  The storytellers are charged not only with entertaining but also with passing down oral traditions.  This writer remembers cold winter evenings sitting by her grandfather as he told stories that brought vivid images to her mind.  It was a time for family togetherness, wisdom shared and new learning. 

This Monday, February 27th, Nebo's Indian Education program will be holding their storytelling night at Larsen Elementary.  Two featured tellers, Julius Chavez and Shawn Cesspooch will take center stage.  Our own Nebo Performing Arts Group will also entertain with some hand drum songs and dances. 

To begin the evening, Indian Taco will be for sale for $7 a plate or 5 plates for $30.  All monies will benefit the Parent Committee Scholarship Program which in the past has handed out over 15 scholarships to students graduating from Nebo School District High Schools. 

Come and join us with your family for this event. It starts at 6:00 p.m. with dinner until 7:00 p.m. At 7:00, the storytelling portion will begin. It is being held at Larsen Elementary in Spanish Fork, Utah. Please call Eileen Quintana for more information. 

In the Governor's Office
(more pictures available)

On Monday February 6th, Nebo Title VI (Indian Education), participated in American Indian Caucus Day at the State Capitol.  This is a time when tribal leaders and state leaders are able to meet together and discuss issues that impact Indian people in our great state. Community members and partners of the Native community were also invited. 

This year, forty three Native American students and parents were able to make the trek up to the Capitol.  Nebo’s own performing arts group was invited to sing some hand drum songs and do a sign language performance to open the Caucus meeting. Some of the students were able to meet concern citizens from Monument Valley.  They were able to ask questions of these Elders about various issues facing their respective communities. One student said, “I was surprised by what they had to say.  It made what I see on TV more real.”

The group was also able to take a tour of the capitol with a knowledgeable docent that gave them a peek into the governor’s office.  They were also able to have some time in the House of Representatives to view the bills that were being discussed and debated before votes were taken. Another tour was taken with the state’s historian to view the maps that were on display in the capitol.  It was wonderful to note that on every map there was evidence of Indigenous communities past or present.

One of our own Native American Seniors- Nicholas Nez was able to job shadow a representative during the day.  He spent the day with one of our representatives who gave him a look into the responsibilities of representing a community.  Nicholas had a long day on the hill but had an incredible experience.

Eileen Quintana, program manager said, “We want Nebo American Indian students to be involved, informed and inspired to be active participants in the issues facing their communities.  Soon they will be the leaders of their Tribal Nations.”   

This is the third year in a row the Nebo Title VI has participated.  They plan to continue making this trip year after year. 



Join Us for American Indian Caucus Day on the Hill
(more pictures available)

Join us for a wonderful opportunity! We are taking a bus on Monday, February 6, 2017 to the State Capitol to participate in the American Indian Caucus Day. This is an opportunity to interact with legislators and state and tribal leaders. We will take a tour of the capitol, watch the process of the passing of bills in the House of Representatives chambers and meet legislators. In addition, we will listen in on discussions between state and tribal leaders in our great state.  It is also a time to hand deliver letters to your legislator and give voice to your concerns or opinions on matters effecting Native Americans. Parents are also welcome to write letters to be delivered.  The issues become of greater importance if a legislator receives hand written letters from their constituents.

A note and permission slip was sent to every Junior High and High school to be handed out to Native American students. If an elementary student would like to participate, we will need a parent or high school sibling to occupying them. Come to Larsen Elementary in Spanish Fork or Cherry Creek Elementary in Springville at 7:00 a.m with lunch in hand or money to buy a lunch. We will be home between 1:30 and 2:00.  Please contact Eileen Quintana or Brenda Beyal for more information. 

Image result for massasoit at the Utah state capitol


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