Student powwow in Reno honors tradition and continuing education |

Student powwow in Reno honors tradition and continuing education

By Jarrette Werk | First Nation's Focus
Elizabeth Hardin, Head Girl Scholar at the RSIC Honoring our Students Social Powwow, says: "Graduating both high school and (with) my AA degree is getting me a few steps ahead in my educational journey."
Photo: Jarrette Werk

Editor's note: 

This story was first published in the June 2017 edition of First Nation’s Focus.

RENO, Nev. — People of all ages attended the second annual Honoring Our Students Social Powwow on June 15 at Anderson Park in Reno.

The community came together to support the graduates and transitioning students, from tiny tots to golden age, and everyone in between.

Graduating high school seniors were gifted beautiful Pendleton blankets followed by an honor song.

While the event was previously known as the “Graduating Luncheon,” the Reno Sparks Indian Colony Education Department decided on “Honoring our Students Social Powwow” as a way of bringing the whole community together.

“The luncheon wasn’t involving the community,” said Tanya Hernandez, RSIC Education Advisor. “We decided to do the powwow so it could be something the kids could help put on and their family and community members could be apart of.”

The head scholar staff was thankful to the RSIC Education Department for everything it does to support each and every student.

“They help out so much,” said Elizabeth Hardin, Head Girl Scholar. “They motivate you to get good grades and give you incentives for doing so.”

Hardin graduated from Pyramid Lake Honors High School and also obtained her Associate of Arts degree from Western Nevada College.

Hardin plans to attend Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Montana, this fall to study business administration.

“They come to school to check on us,” said Chandler Sampson, Head Boy Scholar. “They offer after school tutoring and even talk with our teachers to help us catch up.”

Sampson graduated from Wooster High School and will attend Feather River College in Quincy, California, in the fall, with an emphasis in law enforcement.

In an interview at the June 15 powwow, Lorraine Keller, Hungry Valley Education Advisor, told First Nation’s Focus that education is the future.

“I like to see the kids succeed and move forward,” said Keller. “I like watching them grow up and look forward to watching them graduate — that’s the reason I come to work.

In all, the RSIC Education Department honored more than 115 graduates and transitioning students at the powwow.

Events like this one bring the community together to honor the accomplishments of the youth in the community, Hernandez said.

“Our job doesn’t stop at 5 o’clock,” she said. “I want to be there for the kids and help guide them on their journey to success.”

Hernandez told First Nation’s Focus the RSIC Education Department plans on continuing this tradition of the honor powwow in the years to come.

Visit to learn more about the Reno Sparks Indian Colony.

Jarrette Werk (Aaniiih) is a journalism student at the University of Nevada, Reno, who worked this summer for the Sierra Nevada Media Group as an intern, writing and taking photos for First Nation’s Focus.


RSIC Education Column: Educators building bridges

November 25, 2019

I am over the moon with how strong our school-community relationship is, how easy it was to grow, and surprised by the willingness of my community, students and parents alike, to move in this direction too.

See more