Students Serve as Mr. and Ms. AIHECAug 15th, 2001 | By tcj | Category: 13-1: Honoring Our Students & Alumni, Tribal College News
Role models play an important part of any culture. Role models inspire us. They help us reach our goals. Each year at its annual conference, the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) selection committee chooses Mr. and Ms. AIHEC, two people they believe will serve as quintessential role models for other students at tribal colleges. Candidates complete a rigorous process for nomination, including writing an essay on why they think they would be good choices and what they would bring to the position. They must get recommendations from staff or faculty at their college. They are then questioned for 20-30 minutes in front of the panel.
This year Sisseton Wahpeton freshman David Goette earned the title of Mr. AIHEC while Mindona Blackweasel from Salish Kootenai College was sworn in as Ms. AIHEC. Goette said, “My interest in people and my success with mentoring others will facilitate my efforts to encourage others.” His interests include art, Sioux Voices Club (high school), assisting with his church youth group, and becoming an advisor for the Upward Bound program, a program in which he participated in high school.
Blackweasel, who plans on studying nursing, is Aleut, Athabascan, and Tlingit from Alaska. She says her greatest experience “is the year and a half I spent living with my Godmother in a rural Athabascan community. I learned what being an Athabascan woman meant, the significance of our traditions, and everyday language…it helped to mold me into the strong responsible, kind, and culturally sensitive person that I am today and helped build a foundation for my college education.”
Both Blackweasel and Goette carried grade point averages above 3.0, are active in their college communities, and looked forward to representing AIHEC in the following year. Goette said, “My successes in school, the community, and work provide a good background for representing AIHEC.” Blackweasel was equally enthusiastic, saying, ” I would like to become more involved with the elders, learn more about the purpose of AIHEC, and do my part to enhance Native American Higher Education.”
Also at the annual conference, the AIHEC Student Congress elected their officers for 2001: President Alphonso Colegrove (NWIC), Vice President Maxine Broken Nose of Oglala Lakota College; Secretary Toni Tsatoke of Haskell Indian Nations University; Treasurer Dixie Dorman of Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, Sergeant at Arms Rhonda Strand of Salish Kootenai College, and Historian Michelle Crazy Thunder of United Tribes Technical College.