MVHS Gates Millennium Scholars Highest Across the Country

Representing the highest number of American Indian Gates Millennium Scholars for a high school across the country are these seniors from Monument Valley High School:  (Back row, L-R) Tonena Begay, Tyler Smallcanyon, Racheal Holiday, Tito Bailey, and Dearlynn Crank (Front row, L-R) Karl Bedoni, Kirstin Smith, Deezhi Thinn, and Jasmine Blackwater (Courtesy photo – Mario Dominguez)
Representing the highest number of American Indian Gates Millennium Scholars for a high school across the country are these seniors from Monument Valley High School: (Back row, L-R) Tonena Begay, Tyler Smallcanyon, Racheal Holiday, Tito Bailey, and Dearlynn Crank (Front row, L-R) Karl Bedoni, Kirstin Smith, Deezhi Thinn, and Jasmine Blackwater (Courtesy photo – Mario Dominguez)

This year Monument Valley High School in Kayenta, AZ had the highest number of American Indian Gates Millennium Scholars among all high schools across the country. The GMS is a rigorous application and Kayenta Unified School District is very proud of their distinguished scholars.

Tonena Begay

Ya’at’eeh, shi ei Tonena Begay yinishiye. Kintichiinii nishligo. Na’toh Dine’e Tachiinii bashiichin. Halgai Dine’e da’shicheii.  Ashiihi ei da’shinali akoote’go Dine nishli. Shima doo shi zhee ei Donna Luna doo Toney Begay wolye. Shimasani ei Florence Leonard woyle. Dzit Yijini (Black Mesa) yitsigii bighan. Shi nali asdzaa’ doo shi nali hasteen ei  Rose Begay doo Dan Yazzie Begay wolye. Tse ya ha’ tsoozh (Narrow Canyon) dee’ naa’ash.

 My name is Tonena Begay. I am of the Red House clan, born for Tobacco Red Running into the Water clan. My maternal grandfather is of the Kiowa tribe, and my paternal grandfather is of the Salt clan. My parents are Donna Luna and Toney Begay. My maternal grandmother is Florence Leonard, who resides near Black Mesa, AZ, at the foothills region south of Kayenta, Arizona. My paternal grandparents are Rose Begay and Dan Yazzie Begay, residing in Narrow Canyon, AZ.

I will be attending Utah State University and will earn my degree in nursing. I plan to return to Kayenta to work in the newly constructed hospital. I have many endeavors that I hope will lead me back to our beautiful reservation in a helping capacity. To the future Gates Millennium Scholarship applicants, I encourage you to include personal experiences in your application packet; do not be ashamed of our Navajo culture. Your sheep camp stories with grandma and grandpa are unique and are very relevant. Our people have many abilities and skills, and I also encourage you to build these capabilities in a positive manner that will result in overall nation building for this great Dine’ Nation.

Tyler Smallcanyon

Yaateeh, my name is Tyler Smallcanyon. I am 18 years old and a senior. My parents are Elsie A. Smallcanyon and Derold Sherlock. I am of the Bitterwater Clan. The Reed People Clan is my maternal grandfather’s clan. I am originally from Shonto, AZ. I am the third person in my extended family to receive the Gates Millennium Scholarship.

Applying for this scholarship and receiving it is one of my greatest achievements that reflect upon my years at Monument Valley High School. Four years of volunteer work, participating in school and local activities, and demonstrating leadership has been beneficial for my school, community and me. Therefore, I encourage any student to be involved with their school.

I will be attending the University of Arizona in fall and will eventually attend New York University. I plan to major in nursing and pursue a medical career.

Racheal Holiday

Ya’at’eeh, my name is Racheal Ivy Holiday. I am of the Coyote Pass Jemez Clan, born for the Black Sheep Clan. My maternal grandfather’s clan is Towering House Clan and my paternal grandfather’s clan is Under His Cover Clan. My mother is Rhonda Parrish and my father is Ivan Holiday, Sr. I am originally from Monument Valley, Utah.

Receiving the Gates Millennium Scholarship has opened many pathways for my education. Paying for college is no longer an obstacle. Growing up, acknowledging that my parents did not have a college education, I knew it was up to me to accomplish that. I will be the first in my family to attend college. I will be attending Utah State University and will be majoring in nursing.

Learning to take all the opportunities that come up and setting goals would be my word of advice to all the young men and women. The main significance of goal setting is that it provides me with a direction and purpose. As an individual coming from the Diné tribe, I feel for all the Native American youth in other parts of the world trying to make a difference in their lives and community. We all endeavor to have a better life. We may be coming from different tribes, but we all have one goal in common, higher education.

Tito Bailey

Ya’ah’teeh, shi ei Tito Bailey yinishe. Look’a’dine’e nishli, Bitahni bashichiin. Ashi’hi dashi’cheii, doo Naak’a’dine’e dashi’nali. To’dineeshzhee dee na’sha.  Shima doo shi’zhei ei Audrelia Dugi doo Christopher Bailey. My mother is Audrelia Dugi and my father is Christopher Bailey. I am from Kayenta, Arizona.  I currently reside on the Navajo reservation and I am the second oldest out of my eight siblings.

I plan to obtain a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree at Northern Arizona University for Physical Therapy and return home to work at the new hospital that is currently being built.  My Physical Therapist inspired me to pursue a degree in PT by the way she worked with me from a football injury I sustained during my senior year.

To all high school students that do plan on pursuing a post-secondary degree, start now. Get involved in clubs that do tons of volunteer services and that are involved in community activities. Don’t be shy; ask for help and clarification from your teachers. The teacher(s) that seem to bug you all the time are the ones that know you can succeed, don’t push them away.

Dearlynn Crank

Hello, my name is Dearlynn Mae Crank. I am of the Edge Water Clan, born for Bitterwater clan. My maternal grandfather’s clan is the Red Running Into The Water Clan, and my paternal grandfather’s clan is the Tangle People Clan. I reside in Cowsprings, AZ. My mother is Caroline Crank and my father is Delbert Crank.  I am seventeen years old and a senior at Monument Valley High School.

I plan to dual major in Social Work and Special Education at the University of Arizona. As a senior I was already familiar with what to expect with the Gates Millennium Scholarship because I witnessed last year’s seniors’ struggles and successes.

If there is one thing I learned that brought great benefit to me this year, it is that always runs out. It is a massive struggle to keep yourself on your toes; participate or lead in school clubs and sports; and to focus on the main importance, your education. My family has taught me that “Anything is possible if you have your mind set to it.” Honestly, that saying and words of encouragement have assisted me through the obstacles that were in the way of my success and will continue to get me through life in the future. I am blessed with supportive family, friends, and mentors. My words cannot express how appreciative I am of you all; thank you for everything.

Kirstin Smith

Hello, my name is Kirstin Smith. I am of the Red Bottom clan, born for the Edge Water clan. Near the Water clan is my maternal grandfather’s clan, and the Red House clan is my paternal grandfather’s clan. I reside in a family community called “Red Rock Springs,” which is 45 minutes away from Kayenta, Arizona, where I am currently attending Monument Valley High School with a high GPA and in the top percent of my class.

At this point I am still undecided what college to attend; however, I have several options to choose from. My mind is focused on pursuing a degree in nursing. Someday I intend to help my community as they have outlined my stepping stones of life.

The future lies ahead with untold riches; therefore, I strongly encourage upcoming high school seniors to commence your adventure in applying for scholarships and colleges of your interest immediately. Deadlines pass quickly, and high school life soon disappears. One minute you’ve entered as a freshman, the next you’re leaving as an alumnus. Continue to strive rigorously toward your goals — never give up—eventually one day you will attain them.

Deezhi Thinn

Yaa’at’eeh! Shi ei Deezhi Thinn yinishye. Naashtezhi nishli. Todichiinii bashishchiin. Tlashchii’ii dashicheii. Tachiinii dashinali. Hello! My name is Deezhi Thinn. I am of the Zuni clan, born for the Bitter Water clan. My maternal grandfather is of the Red Bottom clan, and my paternal grandfather is of the Red Running into the Water clan. I was raised in Kayenta, Arizona, by my parents, Kee and Sarah Thinn.

They taught me always to set goals. The Gates Millennium Scholarship has been one of them for as long as I can remember, and I am proud to say that I have finally reached it. I encourage all high school students to work hard to be eligible to apply for this scholarship by earning exceptional grades, performing community service, gaining leadership experience, and staying involved with their culture. These simple tasks have given me the opportunity to further my education without burdening my parents with the high costs of college tuition.

The process of applying for scholarships (especially the Gates Millennium Scholarship) may be straining, but I promise that it will all pay off when you finally have the opportunity to pursue your dreams at your desired college with no expenses to worry about. That is the blessing that I have received. I will be attending Brigham Young University in the fall to major in Biochemistry.

Jasmine Blackwater

Ya’at’eeh, my name is Jasmine Blackwater. I am of the Mud People Clan, born for the Salt Clan. My paternal grandfather is of the Ute Red Running into the Water Clan. My maternal grandfather is of the Within His Cover Clan. My parents are Geraldine Begay and John Blackwater, Jr. I am originally from Red Mesa, Arizona.

The Gates Millennium Scholarship has opened doors of opportunity that I never thought I would have opened for me. As a college student, I will not have to worry about rising tuition rates or other school-related fees. This fall I will attend Stanford University to pursue a law degree that will forever change the fate of my people.

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