North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Native American students honored


Christopher Andersson

Tulalip Tribal members and school district employees Deborah Parker, left, and Denise Hatch-Anderson, right, present Cascade Elementary principal Teresa Iyall Williams with a ceremonial blanket and thank her for her contributions to the community as she is retiring this year during a Native American graduation ceremony on May 31.

Native American fifth-graders in the Marysville School District gathered at the Hibulb Cultural Center on May 31 to celebrate their elementary school graduation.

Parents, school district officials and other community members gathered to help celebrate the occasion.

"It is a great honor to bring recognition to our fifth-graders here," said Teresa Iyall Williams, principal of Cascade Elementary and a member of the Coeur d'Alene Native American tribe.

Students will be entering a new phase of their learning.

"You've hit a milestone by going into a new school next year. It's a lot different going from elementary school to middle school," said Teri Gobin, Tulalip Tribal board member.

"It's a little bit chaotic, compared to elementary school," she said.

Gobin said that they are proud of how much the children have grown and are now progressing.

"You're taking a step into a new direction and it's going to be a wonderful experience," she said.

"Next thing you know you're going to be in high school and then graduated. We look forward to doing anything we can to assist you," she said.

Students walked up the aisle of the Hibulb Cultural Center's longhouse and received graduation cords from the Tulalip Tribes.

"Watching each of you walk up the aisle was encouraging to me," said Jason Thompson, interim superintendent for the Marysville School District.

The ceremony brought students from across the district, which has a total of 10 elementary schools.

Williams said it was a good event to bring students together.

"You think about how far apart our [elementary] schools are and we have Native Americans in each and every one of those schools," she said.

Students were also introduced to their Native American liaisons who are able to help them in their education.

"I look forward to seeing you guys who are coming to one of my three middle schools," said Terrance Sabbas, a liaison and a Tulalip Tribal member.

"It can be tough to transition from elementary school to middle school and you should seek us out," he said.

Officials also celebrated the amount of help from their community the students received.

"To see your parents and your teachers and other staff members, well this is the time of year that my job is the best because we get to see what kind of support you have," said Thompson.

Cascade Elementary principal Teresa Iyall Williams has been part of that support, however after 30 years in the education system and many years at Cascade Elementary, she will be retiring this year.

Tulalip officials wanted to recognize her contributions.

Christopher Andersson

Local fifth-grader Dylan Jones-Moses walks down the aisle at the Hibulb Cultural Center's longhouse as part of a Native American graduation ceremony on May 3

"We need to see our own people in leadership positions," said Deborah Parker, director of equity, diversity and Indian education at the district and a Tulalip Tribal member.

Denise Hatch-Anderson, Tulalip Tribal member and school district employee, said she is glad Williams was there when her daughter was growing up.

"I remember being overwhelmed and happy we got a Native American principal when my daughter was there. She's an adult now, but I want you to know that she watched you and the encouragement you gave the students ... that was a huge example to my daughter, who is now a teacher," said Hatch-Anderson.

"She's always willing and happy to share her own culture, being a Native American woman. She has been an inspiration to many of our students and families," said Parker.


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