Navajo Prep presents International Week

Joshua Kellogg

FARMINGTON – Navajo Preparatory School students are taking part in a week dedicated to learning about cultures around the world and will share their culture with a Nevada high school.

The third annual International Week features musical performances, special meals and activities for students to participate in while incorporating the school’s curriculum, Roxanne Lee, International Baccalaureate coordinator, said.

Navajo Prep was approved as the first Native American International Baccalaureate high school in the country in January 2014 when the the International Baccalaureate organization approved the school’s application. The school offers the Diploma Programme, which lets students graduate with a year of higher education credits and allows them to start college as sophomores.

Harlei Haceesa, left, Adreyan Herb-Pete and Xander Jones write messages on a poster for an anti-smoking activity on Wednesday during International Week at Navajo Preparatory School in Farmington.

The students spent Wednesday afternoon rotating between five activities. Several stations were set up in the Eagles Nest gym for students in honor of national Kick Butts Day, organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Junior Tyra Nicolay said students learned about the damage that tobacco use can cause and how the use of hookahs and e-cigarettes could create health issues in the future. A college and career fair was held in a nearby gym, while sessions about international etiquette and indigenous rights took place across campus.

Nicolay said the students have been trying Japanese, Filipino,  Korean and Australian foods for lunch and dinner throughout the week. The students also participated in a lesson where they learned how to dance to music performed by a Mariachi band on Tuesday.

“We hope they have more global awareness of the possibilities out there,” Lee said.

Fort Lewis College admissions councilor Jenna Gilbert talks with students on Wednesday during a college and career activity that was part of International Week festivities at Navajo Preparatory School in Farmington.

Students from Valley High School — an International Baccalaureate school in Las Vegas, Nev. — will arrive in Farmington today and spend several days with the Navajo Prep students, Lee said.

A number of events are scheduled through Monday with the visiting students, including trips to Santa Fe and Albuquerque  to take part in community service projects. Students from both highs schools will also work on the Navajo Prep greenhouse and school garden.

Triston Black, Student Senate president, said the Navajo Prep students will get a chance to share the Navajo culture with the visiting students. One of the discussions the Valley High students will be taking part in is learning about how Native American stereotypes can be harmful, Black said.

A cultural night is planned for Friday, during which Navajo Prep students will share traditional dance, food, games and stories.

Kaylee Wood jumps on a balloon as her classmates, Eric Woody, left, and Nachae Nez, look on during an International Week activity on Wednesday at Navajo Preparatory School in Farmington. Every 15 minutes, students popped several balloons that represented smoking deaths.

Nicolay said the school will host a hogan-blessing ceremony to bless the building after it recently was remodeled.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.