• Harmony Bennett

    8th Grade

    Frontier Middle School

    Harmony Bennett has been selected as the Student of the Month for Native Education Program because of her strong commitment to school and her community! Harmony attends our weekly meetings on time, prepared, and ready to learn! She has great attendance and works hard to maintain good grades.

    Mrs. Wippert asked Harmony to complete a questionnaire about herself and her hobbies. Harmony sent in this questionnaire to let us know a little more about her and her interests.

    Harmony is a proud tribal member of Puyallup Tribe in Tacoma, Washington, and an eighth grade student at Frontier Middle School. Her favorite subject is STEAM and her favorite teacher is Mr. Ingham. In her spare time Harmony likes to bead, play video games, and loves to learn all that she can. It is important to her to make sure she spreads peace and harmony in the world around her.

    She is extremely proud of the tribal members in her tribe who carve canoes and participate in the canoe journey. The Native American Education Program at Bethel allows Harmony the opportunity to connect with her tribal heritage and roots that she may otherwise have. She is extremely grateful for the program and that as offered her.

    Harmony’s Favorite Quote:

    “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”-Eleanor Roosevelt.


    Wyatt WhiteEagle


    Naches Trail Elementary

    Wyatt was selected by Mrs. Wippert as the elementary student of the month because of the strong skill set Wyatt exhibits and models for his peers. He is an amazing young man with a lot of strong insight into the world already! Wyatt has compassion, caring, and empathy for all his friends and he is always trying to make everyone around him comfortable.

    During our weekly group meeting, Wyatt is one of the most generous friends we have. He is always pouring out compliments to his peers and instantly makes all of our friends feel welcome. I appreciate his outgoing and extremely upbeat attitude. He makes our weekly group meetings fun and interesting.

    Keep on shining, Wyatt! You are a bright star!


    Ian Knowles


    Bethel High School

    Ian was selected by Mrs. Barger for student of the month because he has fought through much adversity since our shutdowns with COVID. Through the adversity he has found ways to persevere and show that school academics is important to his future goal of becoming a Marine. Overall, he has demonstrated maturity, dedication, and pride in himself as a student in the Native Program.

    Let's get to know Ian and hear more about him-

    I'm a part of the Northern Ute Tribe from the 4 corners of Colorado, but I know more of the culture of the Yakima tribe. My favorite subject is American History and my favorite teacher is Mr. Bland, the power sports teacher. My hobbies are cooking and baking. One of my favorite things about being in the Native American program is the support from Mrs.Barger. Something I want people to know about my tribe is that they were nearly wiped out during the American Indian Wars. After graduation my goal is to become a Marine. My favorite quote is from Johnny Cash when he says “Trust gets you killed, love gets you hurt, and being real gets you hated." To be honest I don’t really know what being Native means for me, my whole life I’ve had been raised how my dad was raised on the reservation. I didn’t realize how different my culture is from everyone else until I got into high school. Something I’m passionate about is music. If I could change one thing it would be politics, all they do is cause trouble but sometimes it’s not bad.


    7th Grader- Ava Lago

    Bethel Middle School

    Ava was selected by Mrs. Barger as middle school student of the month because she has jumped into middle school without fear or hesitancy. She works diligently to keep her grades up and shows that she has tremendous pride in her culture when attending our Title VI group meetings.

    Let's get to know Ava and learn more about her-

    I am part of the Puyallup tribe. In the spring I will play volleyball for my school, I have been playing volleyball for 5 years now. My favorite subject in school is ELA, specifically writing. Mr Magin and Mrs. Cronin are my favorite teachers. Some of my hobbies are skateboarding, skiing, wake surfing, and I like to paint every now and then. My favorite part about Native American Program is getting to learn about my culture, but also others. I want others to know that we aren’t necessarily the “protectors” of salmon but the fish itself is a huge part of our tribe. My biggest dream in life is to keep living, if I can do that and keep others happy, then I have succeeded. My favorite quote is “If we let others chose who we get to be or become, how will we be able to determine who we ever want to be?” And that quote is something I just thought of. It’s not from anyone I have ever heard, maybe there’s something similar, but it’s just something I choose to think about. One thing I wanted others to know is that it is an honor to be Indigenous, learning about the culture and getting to have lots of respect and most of all being close with other Natives together. If I could change one thing in the world, it would be people, and how much they choose to speak, people know how to speak, feel the need to respond to everything and everyone. People talk, it’s what they do best. But I wish what we could also do best is learn how to listen for once, just don’t say anything. Just listen, walk away. Do something more than just a response.-


    James McGimpsey

    2nd Grade

    Centennial Elementary

    Mrs. Barger selected James because of his positive attitude while working with others. He brings joy and kindness wherever he is. He shows such excitement for learning about his tribe as well as the tribes of the other students in our group.

    We ask each student to tell us a little about themselves. James is a part of the Makah tribe. His favorite subject in school is math. Some of his hobbies are to ride his bike and take care of his leopard gecko. When James was asked what has been his favorite part about being in the Native American Program he said, "learning about tribes." One thing he would like others to know about his tribe is that Neah Bay is by the ocean and from Neah Bay you can see Canada. Lastly, James was asked what does it mean to him to be Native American and he said, "It makes me feel good!"  
    • Alina "Bunny" Lowe ( 6th Grader @ Cedarcrest Middle School)

      Congratulations, Alina-"Bunny" for being selected as the April-Student of the Month. Throughout this school year we have identified students who are always willing and able to help when called upon. Alina-"Bunny" is definitely one of the students who immediately comes to mind. She is one who will not hesitate to roll up her sleeves and jump in. Every time we have sent out a call for help she has always come to our rescue as someone we can depend on. Without amazing volunteers, students, families, and staff our program would not be as successful as it is! It is a true gift to be able to serve our Native American community and with great students such as Alina-"Bunny", it’s even better! Thank you, Alina-"Bunny" for all your stewardship, leadership, and willingness to lend a hand when we are in need. Keep up the great work and soar into the leader you were meant to be!

      Alina-"Bunny" was asked to share a little about herself:

      Alina "Bunny" is a proud member of the Inupiaq Tribe (Alaskan Native). Her favorite subject in school is Art and her favorite teacher is Mr.Olson. When she is not at school or in leadership duties she likes to spend her time swimming, playing video games, and cosplay. She feels it’s important for people to know her tribe is in the Arctic Circle where temperatures get extremely cold.

      She is currently interested in pursuing a career as a voice actress. She is also passionate about Cosplay. Being Native American means having an amazing community with great food!! If She could put on her superhero cape and change one thing in the world; she would make sure racism no longer existed!

      Alina’s-"Bunnies" favorite quote is, “When you lose it's not over, it's only over when you quit”.

  • 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!