Javan Tsosie has lived his life in Dennehotso, a small community set in the far northwestern corner of Apache County on the Navajo Nation. He’s a graduate of Monument Valley High School and has been attending Northland Pioneer College since spring of 2007 at the Kayenta Center, about a 50-mile round trip from home.
During his time at NPC, he’s had instruction in only three face-to-face classes, those where the instructor is actually in the same classroom as the student. He is an outstanding example of NPC’s “distance education” programs, learning that takes place in interactive audio and video settings or through classes conducted via the Internet. He could have chosen other options, perhaps heading to Flagstaff or the Valley, but, he adds, “Sure, the school (NPC) was close by, but it just made more sense to start here rather than at university.”
The university will eventually figure in his future. He plans to head to Northern Arizona University when he completes his NPC Associate of Arts in Elementary Education (AAEE) degree. Yet, even with a large distance learning program, not all the classes he needs are available every semester at the Kayenta Center, and earning his AAEE may not be completed until next year.
In the meantime, this enthusiastic and well-spoken young man is taking advantage of another “educational” opportunity. He works part time as a teacher’s aide at Kayenta Primary School, a job in which he takes obvious pleasure and satisfaction. When asked his favorite activities, his immediate response was, “I like working with the students at KPS!”
As an aide, Javan tries to help the teachers in any way he can, grading papers, working directly with students when they need help, helping with bulletins, running copies. “Anything at all that the teacher’s might need,” he adds.
But Javan’s efforts don’t just end in the classroom. Kayenta Primary School principal, Jacqueline Benally, nominated Javan for the NPC award, not only for his willingness to faithfully perform his paid duties, but also because he volunteers his help in the school’s office as well. Ms. Benally says, “I call him one of my most faithful workers. He is always willing to help wherever he is needed. If he gives me his schedule, I can count on him to show up every day on that schedule whether it is on a timesheet or to volunteer.”
Javan says his hands-on experience with the students and staff at KPS has been incredibly enjoyable and helpful. And even as he tries to encourage students to learn and move ahead in the world, he says, “They encourage me, too. Over the past two years I’ve learned so much from them and the teachers.” The experiences he has enjoyed at KPS have solidified his goal of becoming an elementary school teacher. And when he achieves that goal, he says, “The first place I will apply is Kayenta Primary School!”
Javan adds that achieving his dream of becoming an elementary teacher wouldn’t be possible without the education he has received at Northland Pioneer College. “It’s given me the solid foundation I need to move ahead. I would recommend it to anyone.”
Javan was honored as an Outstanding Northland Pioneer College Alumnus during the April 19 monthly meeting of the Navajo County Community College District Governing Board. The award is presented to those persons who have used their NPC degree or skills training to succeed in the pursuit of a career or educational goal.
For being named an Outstanding NPC alumnus, Javan receives a commemorative plaque, a three-credit-hour tuition gift certificate, a $25 bookstore gift certificate and a pass to NPC Performing Arts events.