Secretary of State to honor NWIC students

Secretary of State Sam Reed will honor 13 Northwest Indian College students during a service recognition event April 18.

The event is part of Reed’s annual statewide tour of colleges, which will begin April 9 and include 45 campuses. It will be the largest number of schools he has visited since the springtime tradition began in 2006. Reed toured 40 campuses last year.

The following students will be honored during the April 18 event, which will take place on the college’s main campus:

• Eric Lewis: For campus and community sustainability initiatives and student and service learning leadership. He also received the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) student of the year award for NWIC.
• JamieLee Kamkoff and Myron Fryberg:  For supporting food security and sovereignty initiatives on campus, and for community and service learning leadership.
• Charlotte Penn:  For cultural leadership, an organ donor project and service learning leadership.
• Kyle Koos: For his role as a high school science mentor.
• Patrisha Lane: For business community entrepreneurship and student service learning leadership.
• Michelle Kernak:  For community research and leadership on water rights and quality.
• Allisa Sellars: For developing a community a partnership to support alternative, fossil-fuel-free transportation.
• Victor Johnny:  For his leadership of cultural events on campus and in the community, including pow wows and open mic nights.
• Aissa Yazzie and Sheila McCoy:  For their student leadership on campus. Yazzie was also selected as this year’s Miss AIHEC out of a pool of national participants.
• Rita Asgeirrson: For her role as a high school science mentor and for community outreach.  Asgeirrson was also selected as the president of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.
• DeAnn Parris: For organizing the Relay for Life Cancer Walk at Lummi.

In addition to honoring students during the tour, Reed will also encourage them to vote and become more engaged in their communities. He will emphasize civility in politics and society.
“The college civics tour is always fun for me and students, and it’s a great way to help get them more interested in voting and being involved,” Reed said. “I really look forward to visiting campuses across the state.”

During his tour, Reed, who is retiring in January, will take part in campus activities and discussions with students to encourage the state’s youngest voters to participate in elections.

“With so many key races and issues on this year’s ballot, students need to understand why voting is important, and they need to realize their collective voice is powerful when they exercise it through voting and being involved in their community,” Reed said. “A major reason why I do this tour is to explain to students why their votes make a difference and tell them simple ways to be more civically engaged.”

Voters ages 18 to 24 comprise only about 5 percent of the state’s population that voted in the 2010 general election. Compared to those 65 and over, who made up 24 percent of the voter turnout in 2010.

However, 68 percent of registered voters ages 18 to 24 voted in the 2008 general election, compared to just 45 percent in 2000. Reed considers that a very positive sign.      

“I’ve been encouraged to see a larger percentage of younger people voting, and I hope this year they will continue that trend,” Reed said. “Younger voters are just as impacted by what their government does as older generations.  I want them to understand that the best way to bring about change is through their ballot.”