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SKC celebrates graduates, educators

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PABLO — The Salish Kootenai College class of 2023 celebrated their graduation last weekend, and those involved in education received special acknowledgement in the Educators’ Pinning Ceremony. 

Two local educators were honored, the first being Salish language educator Melandie Sandoval. “She’s a very proficient speaker,” SKC professor Jessica King commented. “There aren’t many of those right now.” The second honoree was Julie Janssen, fourth grade teacher at K. William Harvey Elementary and the first recipient of the new SKC Alumni Award started this year. 

Of the students honored at the ceremony, one was surprised with the brand-new Joan Graham award in honor of the late educator who taught in the Ronan Student District for decades. The honoree, Adam Theis, received the award from Graham’s family after receiving a nomination for displaying the four categories they had specified: hard working, responsible, reliable, and kind. 

The pinning ceremony itself honored nine students, with all recipients receiving their pin from someone close to them who has been an inspiration to them and their journey. The educator’s oath the pinned students recite, asking them to cross into the professional world and honor the program by being honest and responsible teachers within the classroom, was held in both English and Salish this year as three honorees are native language teachers. They’re also the first native language teachers honored at the ceremony. 

King also shared this is the first pinning ceremony held in person with most of the faculty since before the pandemic. While the ceremony was technically held in person last year, an outbreak of the COVID-19 delta variant prevented a majority from attending. “A number of these graduates had to go through classes as well during the pandemic, and now they’re finishing, which is a big accomplishment,” King stated. “They made it through.”

The students honored in the pinning ceremony included, Kristina Mays, Cierra Jeppesen, Nicole Perry, Sulee Blackman, Lena Clough, Adam Theis, Hydee Wilson, Brittany Fisher and Camas McClure. 

This year’s SKC graduation saw diplomas awarded to a long list of students, with the commencement address given by Carrie Billy, the CEO/President of AIHEC, and a student address delivered by 2022-23 Student of the Year, Dominque LaForge. 

Graduates of the class of 2023 include: Steven Florenzio Arca, Shawnna R. Berthelote, Naomi Michelle Billedeaux, Dana C. Bremner, Shannon Coffin, Sunny DeCoteau, Stephanie A Fisher, Jennifer HeavyRunner, Tommy HeavyRunner, Cheryl L. Madman, Chase Nevarez, Bryanna Kristine Peterson, Brenda J. Richey, Veronica Willeto DeCrane, Amy Renae Williams, Brian Hogenson, Cierra Jeppesen, Nicole Rae Perry, Kristina Mays, Nadia S. Adams, Jeanette Gardipe, Andrea McDonald, Lydia McKinney, Andrea McDonald, Lydia McKinney, Alfred Woodcock, Joele L. Big Sam-Keenan, Ahwahnee Rain Williams, Rylee Arlee, Tucker Allen Courville, Julie Jeffers, Dominique LaForge, Dine’ Warriors-Pistolbullet, Ahwahnee Rain Williams, Misty Lea Doss, Shelby Blu BigSpring, Joshua Dean Boggess, Dana Comes At Night, Marcia Fisher, Rhea L. Gourneau, Jon-Anthony Clark Henry, Tara Hummingbird Jewell, Nevaeh Ranee Little-Marry, Angela Lozeau, Ronda Lozeau, Madison Martinez, Mary Rose Morigeau, and Dawnette LaRose Swank. 

Also Camas Levi McClure, Madalena Alicia Grace Clough, Sulee R. DeRoche, Adam Theis, Hydee Dayne Wilson, Jade Danielle Dempsey, Emma Jo Scott, Quincy Terrell Williams, Brittany Lace Fisher, Shawnda Sorrell, Nizhoni Harvey, Jeniffer LaCounte, Omar Jara Lopez, Jarod Swan, Joni Kay Tobacco, Rachel C. Tom, Amanda Jo Berens, Jeniffer LaCounte, Aryn N. Mamizuka, Sarye RunsBehindMedicine, Joni Kay Tobacco, Lucas Vanderburg, Marty J. Wallace Sr., Fidencio R. Balderas, Leslie Ann Brownrigg, Erin Christine Bell, Logan Lee Williams, Amari Guardipee, Traylyn Rose Kennerly, Samantha L. McNair, Morgan Rain Sellars, Joni Kay Tobacco, Scott R. Ollinger, Darcy Egan, Annie I. Evans, Janene M. Padilla, Sierra Faith Trotter, Alexia Biederman, Mariah Cheff, Cortnie Grace Ellenwood, Chanona Greiff, Tyrah Hammond, Johona Hoskinson, Anjulisiri R. Moran, Desirae Rose Nault, Thomas Preston, MaryJo Sandberg, Alycia Michelle Shorty, Francheska A. Whitworth, and Sunniva Whitworth.

Also Amber Hamm, Spencer Lloyd Dawson, Jaycee Cooper, Gretchen Joan Fischer, Erin S. Horner, Kersten Jackson, JoDawna Renee Tso, Ryeanna Rain Rychelle Fennerr, Natasha Gravelle, Casey Lammers, Hailey Briana Nicole Tallmadge, Melanie Natysha-Rae Upham, Theresa Marilyn Brendible, Valerie J. Johnson, Sarah Rose Parisian, Johnita Talawyma, Jonathan Brewer, Angela C. Evans, Donna Sophia Richard, Morning Star Roberts, Jaydee Lynn Weatherwax, Suzanne Elizabeth Doney, Josephine Nicole Drennan-Beck, Rebecca Groessler, Micole Foust LaCounte, Allen Goober McClure, Megan Rennich, Frances Rose Steffensmier, Nicholas Christopher Grant, Robyn Kay Iron, Shannon Salisbury DePoe, Desmyn J. Singer, Jorah Thompson, Devin Cordier, Nicholas Christopher Grant, Robyn Kay Iron, Twilynn LopezdeVictoria-Caye, Shannon Salisbury DePoe, and Gabriel A. Caye.

Also Mayana Adrian, Danielle Pierre, Seanna Rose Bigcrane, Wiley Kuntz, Lansing Trey Don’t Mix, Trevor Jon Sorrell Jr., Andruw Michael Allen, Heather Marie Croff, Dana Lynn Comes At Night, Amy B Devereaux, Dawnette LaRose Swank, Andruw Michael Allen, Cara J Guardipee, Paris Jade Vaile, Elease Aren Mendoza, Madison M. Miller, Krystal Orman, Kaden Blixt, Comfort Bolen, Blaise Burland, Vincent Comstock, Bodis Duran, Hansen Victorio Kazhe, Freddy Martinez, Heather Marie Croff, Tara Jewell, Ronda Lozeau, Falon Taylor BigSpring, Cara Jo Guardipee, Paris Jade Vaile, Seanna Bigcrane, Wiley Kuntz, Anthony Jade Whiteman, Nizhoni Harvey, Omar Lopez, Aryn N. Mamizuka, Patrick David Racine, Sarye RunsBehindMedicine, Jarod Swan, Rachel C Tom, Thomas Irving Trahan, Michael Kent Umphrey, Randall Paul Finley, Rachel C. Tom, Anna Elbon, Ashley Lyn Tryon, and Jeremiah Berthelote. 

Congratulations to the class of 2023. 


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