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Fife’s Native grads gifted with honor and praise

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There were plenty of happy faces, laughter, hugs and even some tears during Fife Schools’ annual Indian Education Program dinner and awards on May 28 to close out the school year. Held in the Fife High School cafeteria, Fife teacher and Indian Education Coordinator Martha Sherman hosted the evening that featured Fife’s outstanding Native American students from elementary school on up, and Fife High School’s Native American graduates, class of 2015.

As guests arrived, a slideshow was rolling to show what types of educational and fun learning activities Martha Sherman’s Indian Ed students experienced over the past year – leadership training at University of Washington with former Seahawk Mack Strong and wife Zoë Higheagle-Strong, cultural crafts and art making, a visit to the Seattle Aquarium, tours of University of Washington and participation in the new Native Youth Leadership Academy, to name a few.

Feasting on Indian tacos at the event that evening, the students enjoyed the company of family, friends, teachers and school chums alike. Each grad stepped forward to be draped in a blanket and presented with a collection of gifts that included a handmade drum. Gifts of appreciation were given as well to excellent students and adult volunteers for Fife’s Indian Education Program.

A highlight of the evening was guest speaker Gene Tagaban (Cherokee, Tlinkit and Filipino originally from Alaska) who took the mic and gave a funny, warm and thoughtful presentation of song, stories and drumming.