Yakama Nation Youths Show Off Their STEM Savvy to Visiting Educators

Aaron Arquette caught the attention of about 40 visitors in the Yakama Nation Cultural Center auditorium Thursday when he discussed his work on solar water heaters.

A senior at the Yakama Nation Tribal School, Arquette explained how solar evacuated tubes warm up water for residential use; as a result, solar water heaters tend to save customers money on energy bills.

School Principal Relyn Strom was quick to note how Arquette was already involved in an ambitious project to install solar water heaters in dozens of homes.

Arquette’s project was one example members of the Yakama Nation used to convey their students’ love for science, technology, engineering and math to educators from across the state. The educators visited the Toppenish center as part of a three-day bus tour of several STEM initiatives in Washington.

“STEM is in service to this community,” said Elese Washines, a Heritage University assistant professor.

The bus tour, organized by the nonprofit Washington STEM, began in Vancouver on Wednesday, then moved east to the Yakima Valley on Thursday and will conclude in Spokane today.

Groups and companies represented included the University of Washington, Walla Walla School District, Pacific Science Center and Expedia.

Stopping in the Yakima Valley made sense, as the schools represent a wide swath of communities — rural, Latino and Native American, among others.

To read the article on the Yamika Herald, click here.

Via yakimahearld.com: Tribal School Grad’s Dream Will
 Take Her to WSU to Study Zoology

An exceprt:

Graduating this week from Yakama Nation Tribal School, Ashley Walsey is closing in on the goal she set for herself long ago — to study zoology at Washington State University.

“It’s been my dream since I was 7,” she said. “I’ve always loved animals a lot; my dad tells me that when I was little, the very first thing I wanted was a ferret.”

This fall, the 18-year-old animal lover from White Swan is headed to WSU and she’s simultaneously thrilled about her next adventure and worried about how much she’ll miss her little sister and her friends.

It’s a touch of the competitive spirit that made her a three-sport athlete for the Tribal School, competing in basketball, volleyball and track, as well as dancing in the powwows she travels to with her family.

Tribal School Principal Relyn Strom said Walsey works hard at everything she puts her mind to.

“She’s one of our strongest students academically, but she’s also a three-sport athlete and she’s very active in traditional cultural activities, like dancing and learning the Yakama language,” Strom said.

Walsey also credits her experience at the Tribal School and some of the friends she made there with helping her stay on track to college.

As for what kind of career she envisions for herself, Walsey is still open-minded. Maybe she’ll be a veterinarian or a zoologist who travels the world, or come home and work for the Yakama Nation’s wildlife program.

To read the entire article, click here.

Yakama Nation and state reach sensible accord on fuel taxes

From the Yakima Herald Republic, here.  For tribes that don’t already incorporate an education tax, they should consider an education code that incorporates a tax where the revenues are earmarked for education purposes.  While this is not practical for all tribes, many could utilize such a code as a way to fund their Tribal Education Department and education program.