Native Village Youth and Education News

March 1, 2009 Issue 195 Volume 2


Navajo Prep opens doors to fourth and final dormitory
By Alysa Landry
Condensed by Native Village

Navajo Reservation:  The news Manuelito Hall at Navajo Preparatory School recently opened its door for 22 male students. Students moved from the old dormitory leased from the Navajo United Methodist Mission into their new, 11,000-square-foot home.

"In the old dorm, there were only two showers, and the water was always cold," said 14-year-old freshman Christopher Loretto. "There was no air conditioner, no heater."

Manuelito Hall can house up to 36 boys. The $3,000,000 facility is energy efficient with radiant floor heating and cooling ventilation. It also includes plenty of showers and new furniture.

"I'm looking forward to sleeping in a brand new bed," Loretto said.

Navajo Preparatory School opened in 1995 when the Navajo Nation purchased nearly 85 acres of land from the United Methodist Church. The land was leased to the school under a 99-year agreement.

"In 1995 when I first came here, this [land[ was all bare," said Andy Ayze, chairman of the Navajo Tribal Council's Education Committee. "Now it's covered with nice buildings.

"At that time, we were trying to figure out how to get funding from the Navajo Nation. Since that time, we have gotten a little more than $12,000,000."

The first phase of construction called for four new dormitories. Each was designed with four suites clustered around a shared corridor to create a neighborhood living environment.

"The BIA wanted big dorms," said teacher Teri Michael. "There was a real fight to get smaller dorms with living rooms and kitchenettes. We wanted these because it helps students get ready for college life, and that's the purpose of Navajo Prep, to help students transition to college."

The new living quarters are a major improvement over the old dormitories, Michael said.

"Those dorms were built in the 1800s," she said. "Some of the bricks used to build them were made by hand right here on this site. All of those dorms were substandard."

Navajo Prep is now completing a new gymnasium, student center building, athletic fields and a fine arts and music building.

Navajo Prep houses about 150 students from Sunday to Friday. An additional 50 students live off campus.
The school has a 95% college acceptance rate and has met Adequate Yearly Progress under the federal No Child Left Behind Act for the last seven years. The school only accepts students who have demonstrated high academic performance and motivation.


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