Program: The Native American Motivational Conference, open to the public, was aimed at Indian students and their parents.
Number of students: About 50 students participated in the conference ceremonies, and more than 200 members of the public - many of them the students' parents - attended the half-day event.
Theme: Fly Like the Eagle
Location: All Granite District schools, K-12
Students: About 850 students, from kindergartners to high school seniors, are provided counseling and tutorial services that will help them enhance their self-esteem and cultural identity through the Title V Indian Education Program.
Number of teachers: Two teachers and two support staff members are the entire faculty of the program.
Coordinator: Paul Enciso
School district: Granite
The teachers' objective: An enhanced sense of cultural identity. Speakers at the event, which took place at Taylorsville High School, included Agnes Dill, former president of the American Indian Women's Association; Lenora Red Elk, Lakota language and culture instructor at Indian College, Fort Peck, Mont.; and John Powless, director of Indian Affairs for the state of Utah. The students also observed Indian arts - textile weaving, moccasinmaking, cross-stitching and dancing - and learned Indian sign language.
The children say they learned: The conference was designed to build the students' self-esteem by boosting their self-motivation within a American Indian cultural context, said event coordinator Paul Enciso. About 50 students were recognized for outstanding academic achievement. Tamani Enciso, 14, and Luci Saltkill, 17, earned the Outstanding Native American Role Model awards. Aldren Chapo, 17, and Joleen Craig, 17, were named Mr. and Miss Granite District Native American based on their scholastic records, community service and cultural and artistic achievements.
What happens next: The event drew the eye of some of the state's top educators, who want to help the students go on to get their college degrees. "The University of Utah wants to contact the high achievers for possible recruitment into the university," Enciso said.
The Deseret News will publish weekly a feature on school activities. Call Chuck Gates, 237-2100.