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Jill Biden: Tribal colleges build opportunity on reservations

Dr. Jill Biden walks with the procession of graduates of the Navajo Technical College Class of 2013, Navajo Tech President Elmer Guy, Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly and the Board of trustees on the Navajo Tech campus in Crownpoint, New Mexico. May 17, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, delivered the commencement address at Navajo Technical College on May 17:
As a community college teacher, I love seeing what a tremendous difference a community like the one I saw at Navajo Tech can make in the lives of its students.

The impressive class of graduates included veterans like Jerrilene Kenneth, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Army mechanic, before she became the first college graduate in her family with an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education. It also included Navajo Tech Student of the Year Sherwin Becenti, who dropped out of college more than ten years ago but returned to school in order to build a better life for his family and set a good example for his children. Dwight Carlston, who grew up with no running water or electricity, was also among the graduates. Dwight maintained a 3.8 grade point average, ran cross country, served as Student Senate President and was recently elected as the Student Congress president of all 38 tribal colleges.

The Class of 2013 also marked a key milestone for Navajo Tech itself as they celebrated their first student to graduate with a Baccalaureate Degree. Dody Begay received his Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology-Computer Science – a path many other students are now planning to follow.

Get the Story:
Dr. Jill Biden: Building Opportunities in Indian Country: Congratulations to the Graduates of Navajo Technical College (White House Blog 5/22)

Related Stories:
Jill Biden to deliver commencement address at tribal college (4/17)

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