This is the Seventh post in a series of Guest Posts written by Jianping (Corey) Yang. You can read the introduction to these posts HERE.

There are about 12 eighth graders graduating this June [2012]. The school organized a trip for them to visit a dorm for Navajo students and the Bloomfield High School, where they can choose to stay for their high school life. The dorm is located outside the town, and the students need to commute between dorm and school.

We visited the dorm first. Currently, there are about 100 residents in this dorm. The corridor walls are decorated with American Indian arts and slogans in both English and Navajo. For example, two slogans say, “do not be overly shy”, and “do not be easily hurt”. Residents share bunk-beds and communal bathrooms. Within the dorm building, there is a computer area, a laundry room and a dining hall. Outside the dorm building, there is a library built in the traditional stone and wood style. Overall, the facilities are nice, while the dorm rules are strict. For example, the dorm sets up bedtime and laundry time. Students are not allowed to enter other students’ rooms. I was thinking that living in a dorm for children can help them develop communication skills and live independently. On the other hand, living away from home can be hard for these children.

At Bloomfield High School, we visited the main building, the theatre and the sports center. Inside the main building, we had the opportunity to see students in different classrooms making art, doing chemistry experiments, etc. I noticed that some of the outstanding alumni of this school went to University of New Mexico. We were instructed on the topics regarding registration, attendance rules, graduation information, etc. One aspect about the courses that deserves mentioning is that students can earn college credits for free. The school provides some courses related to Navajo language and culture. The great majority of the students I observed, however, weren’t Navajo. I think this may cause adaptation difficulty for some of the Lybrook area students, as one of the concerns of they have is whether or not they will have Navajo peers in the school.

These eight graders have other options, such as the high school in the nearby town, Cuba. Whichever they choose, they will start a new chapter of their life. I wish them good luck in their high school years.

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