Students learn gratitude and cultural identity with visit from President Nygren

TÓHAJIILEE, N.M. — Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren recently visited To’Hajiilee Community School and the Native American Community Academy in Albuquerque to speak to high school students about the importance of education and pursuing their dreams.

During his visit, Nygren shared his own personal story, from struggling with math as an aerospace engineering student to discovering his passion for construction management and technology and encouraged students to follow their hearts and not be afraid of making mistakes or failing.

Nygren’s message to the students was composed of four valuable lessons. The first lesson was about pursuing one’s passion. The president spoke about the importance of finding what brings joy to one’s heart and pursuing it with determination.

“What makes you want to get up every single day? Go after that. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t because you can and only you can make it happen,” he said.

The second lesson was about embracing learning. Nygren emphasized the value of education and lifelong learning. He encouraged the students not to be afraid of making mistakes and to continue learning throughout their lives. “Don’t let not knowing something make you afraid. There will always be something you don’t know and there’s always something more, something new, to learn,” he said.

The third lesson was about gratitude. Nygren stressed the importance of expressing gratitude and said that saying “Thank you” in Navajo, or “Ahéhee,” can open doors for you. He encouraged the students to be grateful for what they have and to develop close relationships with their friends and classmates.

Finally, the president’s fourth lesson was about embracing one’s culture. He encouraged the students to embrace their Native identity, seek out the knowledge held by their elders and be proud of their heritage.

“Embrace being being Zuni, Laguna, Navajo,” he said.

Nygren also encouraged the students to stay connected with their classmates after graduation and to continue to support each other.

The President’s visit left a positive impression on the students, who shared their own aspirations, from becoming an anesthesiologist to a video game designer. The students expressed appreciation for Nygren’s visit and the valuable lessons he shared about pursuing one’s passion, embracing learning, expressing gratitude and embracing one’s culture and left them inspired to pursue their own dreams.

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