CONTACT: Steve Tripp






PRESCOTT , Ariz. (June 16, 2003) -- The Yavapai-Prescott Indian Reservation celebrated the completion of the school year with its annual Education Banquet. The event was held on the Reservation in the Tribe’s Community Gathering Center on Saturday, June 14.
Recognizing achievements in education, the tribe presented awards to its students who attended eight schools in the Prescott area and fifteen schools nationwide. School staff members, family members, tutors and other volunteers attended the banquet. The banquet recognizes the children’s educational progress, with medallions, ribbons and certificates.

Tribal education director, Janet Tonnelli, hosted the event. The evening’s speakers included Peterson Zah, former chairman of the Navajo Tribe and now Arizona State University’s Indian Representative of the Office of the President, and ASU senior Jaime James, a tribal member who received her teaching certificate this year. Zah and James spoke about the importance of education, emphasizing the benefits and rewards of completing higher education. Music was provided by the Navajo duo, Burning Sky, and Yavapai Tribal Board Member, Luan Olague, who performed a blessing song.

The Tribe recognized three of its members who either received college degrees or cerificates from higher learning institutes this year. Michael Whitlow received his bachelor’s degree in communications management from DeVry University in Irving, Texas. Martin James, who already possesses a bachelor’s degree from Oregon State University, received his associate degree in Golf Course Management from the San Diego Golf Academy’s Chandler Branch. Debbie Russell received her certificate of library science from Mesa Community College, and she plans to return to the Reservation to work in the Tribe’s library.

Located adjacent to the central Arizona community of Prescott, the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe consists of 160 members and occupies a reservation of less than 1,500 acres. Tribal enterprises, including a business park, shopping center and two casinos, provide more than 2,500 jobs for the local economy.