• Isabella Sunde (4TH GRADER @ Naches Trail Elementary)

    isabella sunde

    Mrs. Wippert and Mrs. Barger selected Isabella because she has shown grit, perseverance, and determination this school year. Isabella will reach out when needed and does a great job of communicating with our staff. We often find ways to work together on something that may be a struggle, brainstorming options and coming up with a plan. We enjoy her enthusiasm to learn and her positive attitude.


    Isabella was asked to share a little about herself for all to see her great qualities-

    Isabella is a part of the Aleut Indians. What she enjoys most about being in the Native American group is learning about other tribes, as well as her own. It means a lot to Isabella and even though she is not full Native it is still an important thing in her life. Something that Isabella would like for everyone to learn about her tribe is that it is from Alaska.

    Some things Isabella really enjoys are listening to rock music, playing video games, and drawing. She really wants to be in a rock band and play for others. That would be an ultimate goal for her! Lastly, she wanted to share that Mr. Cruz was her favorite teacher. She had him in Kindergarten.

    We asked Isabelle what her favorite quote might be and she said,

    "Give yourself a break. Tomorrow is a new day to try again."

February 2021



    nevitt miller

    Mrs. Wippert selected Nevitt because she has been working hard on trying to improve her grades, participation, and attendance in school. This is Nevitt's 2nd year at Bethel School District and she has worked hard overcoming barriers transitioning to public school from tribal school. It's a culture shock and can be a difficult transition for our Native youth. I am proud of all the barriers Nevitt has overcome in her young life. It’s been amazing to reconnect with her, as she was a former student of mine in elementary.

    Mrs. Wippert asked Nevitt's to share a little about herself for all to see her great qualities.

    Nevitt is a proud member of the Muckleshoot Tribe and she is actively involved in drumming and dancing in her Native Heritage. Her favorite part of being involved in the Native Education Program at Bethel School District is she feels closer to her tribe and she enjoys getting to spend time with her group. Her favorite subject is History and her favorite teachers are Mrs. Wippert and Mrs. Alwart. In her free time she likes to sing and draw.

    After she graduates High School she plans to go to college to practice law. She has set her dreams on becoming the first Native American woman president of the United States, and traveling the world. It is extremely important to her to remain true to her culture, heritage, and to her people. She enjoys learning all she can about her culture and learning new things.

    When asked what her favorite quotes are she said: “I know it seems hard sometimes but remember one through every dark night there’s a brighter day after that. No matter how it gets, stick ya chest out and keep your head up… and handle it. (Tupac)



    leilani Dillon Edwards

    Mrs. Barger selected Leilani because she has been finding ways to set goals for success this school year on a consistent basis. Academically she has been hitting stellar marks in all of her classes and continuously looks for ways to improve. In addition to her focus in the classroom Leilani has been participating in our Mental Wellness Monday's. This group focuses on a positive mindset, specifically focusing on the Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, and Mental wellbeing. Overall, Leilani's positive outlook and ability to self-reflect have provided her with a strong foundation for success.

    Mrs. Barger asked Leilani to share a little about herself for all to see her great qualities.

    Leilani Dillon-Edwards is proud of being a part of the Puyallup and Swinomish Tribes. Her favorite subjects in school are Humanities and Art. One of her most memorable teachers in her educational journey is Mrs. Akins. In her spare time she likes to bead, create art pieces, and braid hair. The greatest thing she has learned from her participation in the Native Education program is, “we’re all the same no matter where we come from and we are all in this together”. One of the biggest things she likes people to know is she has a BIG family in both of the tribes. After high school she would like to pursue a career in either becoming a hair stylist or a Tribal Police Officer.

    Leilani is proud to be a young Native American girl and feels it’s special because of her love for her traditions and all the new unique things she has learned. She is passionate about treating all people equally regardless of race, color, or socio-economic status. She feels we are special and have something great to offer the world.

    One of her favorite quotes is, “treat others the way you want to be treated”.

    If she could change anything in the world it would be the crime of all humankind mis-treating each other.


November 2020 MacKenzie Sunde

  • MacKenzie Sunde


    School: Spanaway Lake HS 

    Grade: 12th 

    Tribe: Aleut 


    1. What are your plans for after graduation? 

    After graduation I plan to get my AA in business and work in real estate . I have always loved looking at houses and It is also a successful career path.


    2. What has been your favorite part about being in the Native American Program in Bethel? 

    My favorite part about being in the Native American Program in Bethel is that the coordinators and students are super friendly and close knit. The coordinators are really easy to talk to and it gives you a sense of belonging and truly feels like a family. I have met many other great students that have become good friends of mine. 


    3. Regarding Native American Heritage Month what is something you want others to know about your tribe? 

    I am from the Aleut tribe, and I would like others to know that after colonization, the Aleut population was decimated by massacre and disease; when the United States purchased Alaska from the Russians in 1860 only about 2,000 Aleuts remained. The Aleut tribe is not talked as much about down here in Tacoma as most people are from local tribes, but my tribe has been through much struggle and despair just as much as the others. It took much sacrifice to keep our name alive and I am proud to represent it. 


November 2019 - Tia Barnes

  • Tia Barnes senior photo

    Congratulations to Tia Barnes on being named our Native American Education Program student of the month.

    Tia said the best part of Bethel's Native American Program is being able to connect with other Native Americans in the area.

    "Without the Native American program, I would not be able to share my culture with others whom are just like me. Being a part of this program has taught me leadership, hard work, and determination. I am very thankful to connect with other Native Americans and to get through problems that Native Youth face today,” she said.

    Tia is a member of the Puyallup Tribe, and she credits much of her success to the values tribal leaders have instilled in her.

    “Our tribe works hard to provide to all of our people, and without our hard work we would have nothing,” she said. "Not only has our council fought for our rights in regards to fishing and our ways of life, the majority of our tribe also works hard to provide an amazing life to our Native Youth, to ensure our success.”

    The Graham-Kapowsin High School senior hopes to attend the University of Oregon next year, where she would love to study law with a minor in Indigenous Studies. She plans on one day working in law enforcement as an FBI Special Agent.

January 2019- Raith Antonio



    Congratulations to Raith Antonio on being named this month’s Native American Education Program Student of the Month.

    Raith is a member of the Laguna Pueblo Tribe of New Mexico, and one of the things he loves about the Native American Program is getting to know members of other tribes.

    “The main thing I enjoy about the Native American Program is meeting others and learning about each other as well as making friends. Admittedly some will regard it as awkward at first, but that's the fun of it, with a little awkwardness and laughter many friends are often made,” he said.

    The SLHS sophomore is a member of his school’s JROTC program, where he performs with the color guard and the drill team.

    One of the things he’s excited about is teaching more people about about his own tribe.

    “I would like to teach others about how my tribe was actually able to survive extremely well in the harsh New Mexico desert,” he said.

February 2019: Landen Barger

  • Landon Barger


    February’s Native American Education Program student of the month is Landen Barger.
    Landen is a member of the Eastern Band Cherokee Tribe, and he loves speaking to other Native students about their culture and heritage.
    “My favorite thing about being part of the Native American program is meeting new kids and learning about their background,” he said.
    The Liberty Middle School eighth grader stays extremely busy inside and outside of the classroom. He’s a member of Liberty’s football,
    track, and basketball teams, and he’s also a mentor in the WEB program and and the Native American Youth Leadership Academy.
    Congratulations, Landen!

December 2019 - Karlee Jean Brummett-Schwerzler

     Karlee Jean Brummett-Schwerzler
    December's Native American Student of the Month is Karlee Jean Brummett-Schwerzler.
    Karlee is a member of the Cherokee Tribe and is a 5th grader at Thompson Elementary –
    where she's part of the Ambassadors Program.
    "To become an Ambassador, students are nominated by their 4th grade teachers as
    exemplifying ROAR behavior and being a good role model," said Thompson Social
    Worker Chelsea Rambo. "Karlee is often the first to volunteer for a job or to help. I
    can count on her to work with younger students and to always be an outstanding role model."
    Congratulations, Karlee!