Health & Education

Native students honored for school success

04.29.2021 Danielle Harrison Education, People


By Danielle Harrison

Smoke Signals staff writer

It’s been a school year like none other and Grand Ronde Youth Education celebrated those who had accomplished a variety of academic and personal goals during an online Student Success Night celebration.

More than 80 Native students from the Willamina and Sheridan school districts were honored during the event held on Facebook and YouTube on Thursday, April 15.

“The Youth Education Department is excited to celebrate many Native students at the fifth annual Student Success event,” Youth Education Program Manager Tim Barry said. “Students were recognized for their success with academic achievements for the first semester of the 2020-21 school year. It has been a school year like no other, and our staff are very proud of the students’ perseverance, creativity and what they have accomplished.”

The video presentation featured Barry, Education Department Manager Angela Fasana, Guided Study Teacher Adam Langley, Academic Advisor Shane Thomas and Academic Coach Rachel Fluke, along with other Youth Education staff and Willamina School District Tribal Attendance Family Advocate Rebecca Arredondo. 

“Congratulations students on a job well done. This year has been so hard and you have done such an amazing job,” Fasana said. “We look forward to congratulating you in person next year. Keep up the good work and have a wonderful spring and summer.”

“I know it’s been a hard year for a lot of us,” Langley said. “Congratulations on getting through it and let’s hope next year will be better for all of us.”  

“I’m so pleased to be celebrating students tonight who have shown success in school,” Arredondo said. “Despite COVID, you’ve been able to rise above.”

During the first semester of the 2020-21 school year, 42 elementary school students and 44 middle and high school students were honored for various academic accomplishments. Their names are not listed due to the Education Department not having parental permission to release them. A video of the event is available at

Students were awarded Amazon gift cards and certificates for their accomplishments.

Student Success Night is organized by the Tribe’s Youth Education Program, with support from other departments including Prevention and Nutrition.