President Ben Shelly gave the keynote address Friday at the opening of the new Newcomb High School Gymnasium.
The opening of the new gymnasium focused on the athletic events to take place, the encouragement to hang up future state championship banners and a press box for media coverage. But President Shelly focused on the education the students need to receive, both in school and in life.
“Thank you for guiding your children into education. Guiding them so that one day they will help this Nation of ours.” President Shelly said to the parents and grandparents in attendance.
With more than 130 students and community members present President Shelly spoke in a 15-minute speech of the importance of keeping the Navajo language and culture intact.
“We must begin to look ahead and incorporate our language and culture to every aspect of education. Our Navajo Code Talkers fought for our freedom, for our language. We need to keep our language strong” President Shelly said.
“So with each day, our path created by those before us is path rich with history and culture that make us who we are today.”
The new gymnasium faced several challenges in being built with the type of soil it would be built on to meeting building code in order for graduation to take place in the upcoming weeks.
“We are glad the gym is now open. Graduation can take place and students can receive their diploma in a new facility. When the sports season comes around I can sit up in the box and watch a basketball game and football game at the same time.” President Shelly said implying the announcer’s box, in which windows merely separate the football field and basketball courts.