RRH Students received a visit and special message from the Richfield Residential Hall Governing Board on Sunday, September 5th. Each member of the board took some time to give our students advice and encouragement for the coming school year. The school board and administration congratulated each student for being selected to attend this prestigious program this year. Students were reminded of the competitive nature of the selection process and the fact that many students were not given this opportunity. While each board member had a unique message, some common themes prevailed, including: believe in yourself, work hard, and make the most of this opportunity.
RRH Governing Board Vice President, Bill Cly, of Kayenta addressed the students first. Mr. Cly shared several stories of his time as a student at Richfield Residential Hall, and based many of his comments on a story titled, “Navajo Giant Killers.” This true story outlines the challenges and successes of several Navajo boys who attended Richfield Residential Hall in the 1960’s. This exceptional group of young men (including current board members Mr. Cly and Mr. Tsosie) participated in a highly successful basketball team. Mr. Cly shared how the lessons he learned in the dormitory and as a part of this basketball team helped to shape him into the successful individual that he is today. He reminded the students that they must choose to succeed and work hard to fulfill that choice each day. He reminded the students that, “nothing worthwhile comes without effort.”
Richfield Residential Hall Alumni and Governing Board Secretary, Denis Tsosie, advised students to make a commitment to finish what they started. He congratulated students on making the decision to attend RRH and he encouraged them to see it through to the end. As a former student of RRH, Mr. Tsosie said that he knew there would be days that students would feel homesick and would want to return home. He added that the decision to finish what he started at RRH had a big hand in making him the successful man that he is today. He cautioned students against developing a pattern of “quitting, ” and encouraged them to get involved and do what they can to make this place better. He encouraged students to get involved in student government, athletics and to believe in themselves.
After introducing herself in Navajo, Ms. Tallman reminded the students and staff that, “as Navajo’s, we are all related.” She reminded the students that RRH is an elite school that is recognized as one of the best opportunities available to Native American high school students. Ms. Tallman went on to remind students that, “to succeed, you have to be strong.” She encouraged the students to enroll in the Navajo Language and Navajo Government classes that are taught on our campus and to “learn your language and be proud of who you are.” Ms. Tallman closed her remarks by telling the students to, “be determined, work hard, and never settle for less than your best.”
“Why am I here?” asked RRH Governing Board President, Stanley Yazzie in his opening comments to the students of RRH. He went on to explain that he, the other board members, the administration and the staff of RRH are all here for one reason: to help each student to be their best. He also reminded the students that all of these people are here because they care for the students…they want the students to succeed. Mr. Yazzie acknowledged that being away from home can be a challenge, and that the students should take pride in the fact that they are doing something challenging to improve themselves. He told the students that their perseverance in this unique opportunity would be rewarded with a huge headstart over their peers who attend school elsewhere. Mr. Yazzie reminded each student that they were chose to be here and encouraged them to be proud of who they are. Mr. Yazzie concluded his remarks with the powerful statement, “Believe in yourself…you are something special.”