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Four selected as CWC's Native American Student Leaders

Nov 15, 2013 - From staff reports

The students will serve as mentors for their peers and American Indian youth.

Four Central Wyoming College students have been selected as Native American Student Leaders for 2013-14 and will serve as mentors for their peers and local American Indian youth.

Coker Haukaas, Amber Noseep, Andre Kaquatosh and Lee Tendor were selected from American Indian students enrolled at CWC this fall.

"They all received a special scholarship this year in recognition of their dedication, unique journeys to college and for their leadership skills," said CWC associate vice president for student services Coralina Daly. "We believe in the power students have to inspire other students and look forward to people getting to know these four."

All of the Native American Student Leaders reside on or near the Wind River Indian Reservation and say they are excited to be at CWC.

"All the resources are here," said Tendore. "You just have to tap into them."

Tendore, 33, is an Eastern Shoshone, a husband and a father of three. He also served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps before returning to Lander. He is in his third year as a part-time student.

"College was never in my future whatsoever," Tendore said.

He graduated from Flandreau Indian Boarding School in South Dakota but said he was not interested in college until his wife, Reinette, encouraged him to enroll.

"Without her I would not be in school," he said.

His wife earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Wyoming and serves as a prevention specialist for both the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes. The couple is active helping youth with the UNITY and ESCAPE organizations.

Faculty president Matt Herr said Tendore embodies many of the characteristics of an exceptional student leader.

Tendore is studying American Indian studies and criminal justice. He is scheduled to graduate in May and thinks the power of his degree will help him support his family.

Noseep, 21, is the daughter of Sophia Noseep and Blake Armajo Sr., and the granddaughter of Anna and Matthew Noseep and Genevieve and Morton Eli Armajo Sr., of Fort Washakie.

She is studying pre-health and plans to attend the University of Illinois College of Medicine after completing her associate and bachelor's degrees. Last summer, Northern Arapaho Tribal Liaison Gary Collins nominated her to travel to the UIC campus where she spent a week with medical students and professors.

"Amber's assertiveness to better the Native American community with her current knowledge and proposed medical training was clearly an attribute at her age," Collins said.

Noseep is excited about the program but focused on her true goal.

"I want to provide stability for my daughter -- to set a good example for her," she said. "I didn't want to be a statistic. I want to prove to other young moms that you can still achieve what you want to do even with a young child, especially when you have positive family and friend support."

Kaquatosh, 21, is a Fort Washakie Charter High School graduate and is enrolled with the Menominee tribe of Wisconsin though he was raised in Fort Washakie. He is the son of Gordon and Alice Kaquatosh and the grandson of Tony and Lillian Aragon.

An artist, Kaquatosh is interested in all forms of creative expression but especially music. He plays the guitar and is a member of the CWC handbell choir.

"Andre is a very quiet, friendly young man, with a strong sense of duty to his family and friends," said CWC music professor Bob Hussa. "He is one of the most polite students I have had in a number of years."

Haukaas is an enrolled member of the Eastern Shoshone tribe. He was born in Fort Washakie but grew up in Northern Idaho. He enrolled at CWC soon after returning to Fort Washakie in 2011. He is pursuing degrees in business management and accounting but finds all of his classes valuable.

CWC business professor Beth Gray has come to know Haukaas both in class and as his adviser.

"Coker is an outstanding individual," Gray said. "He is honest, hard-working, intelligent, eager to please, funny, kind, and the list goes on and on. He is an awesome student all the way around."

Each of the four students has words of wisdom to share with fellow and future CWC students.

Kaquatosh thinks success in college means structuring your life with as little stress as possible, creating time to study and surrounding yourself with supportive people. He also recommends staying in the present and focusing on the future.

For Tendore, success is rooted in discipline: "Start with small goals and move to large goals. Work on study habits. A better future depends on everyone bettering themselves. Step up to the plate and do it."

Noseep recommends staying focused and maintaining momentum. "It is never too late to start school. Just as long as you keep going -- taking a break isn't a good idea. It's too hard to get back into it," she said.