Tribal youth named Academic All-Star

04.14.2016 Dean Rhodes People, Education

Tribal youth Justin Fasana, a junior at Willamina High School, was one of 66 students honored as 2016 Statesman Journal Academic All-Stars on Sunday, April 3, at Corban University in Salem.

Chemeketa, Corban, Western Oregon and Willamette University offer scholarship opportunities to each of the Academic All-Stars. Corban, Western Oregon and Willamette each offer $2,000 scholarships to those who meet their admissions requirements and the scholarship is renewable. Chemeketa offers one year of tuition.

As part of the All-Star nomination process, students submitted biographies and wrote essays. This year’s essay question was, “What’s going on in your life, your community or the world today that your high school classes don’t really address? If you could add a class to your high school’s curriculum, what would it be and why?”

Awards were presented to the top junior and senior at 33 Mid-Valley high school, including Willamina.

Fasana, who has a 4.0 grade point average and is ranked No. 1 in his junior class of 50 students at Willamina High, wrote about the lack of education regarding local Native American Tribes in Oregon public schools.

“I believe that all students who graduate should have some simple education about the history of Oregon Tribes, their cultural beliefs, their cultural events and how their governments work,” he wrote in his essay. “The lack of this type of class has caused conflict between close communities and hardships for the children of both communities, who do not understand why they are being segregated.”

He is the son of Tribal Court Administrator Angela Fasana and her husband, Ariah. He is the grandson of Tribal Chairman Reyn Leno and his wife, Liz.

Fasana plans on attending Oregon State University in Corvallis and majoring in mechanical engineering or environmental/forestry engineering. He also volunteers at the local food bank and as a Willamina Fun Run helper.

This was the 23rd year for the Academic All-Star awards program. For more information, go to