(Ethete, Wyo.) – Miss Native American USA Sarah Ortegon visited Wyoming Indian Elementary School this morning, encouraging students to stay motivated for their passions.
Ortegon, who grew up in Denver, is a member of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes. While she didn’t live on the Wind River Indian Reservation, she told the third- through fifth-graders that she visited family here every summer. She received her crown at the August pageant in Arizona, beating out 10 other competitors. She said she didn’t compete or dance to win, but to be part of something.
“I represent each and every one of you,” Ortegon told the students.
She encouraged the youths to follow their passions and talents, inviting several to come up to the front and tell her what their aspirations are. To several boys who said they wanted to grow up to play basketball in the NBA, she told them to practice every day.
Ortegon told the students to be proud of their heritage, and she said it is important for them to learn the Shoshone and Arapaho languages. She just now is starting to learn Arapaho.
She said that in order to succeed at their passions, they will have to overcome negative influences and fight against substances.
At the end of her presentation, Ortegon signed autographs for the children, but only if they promised to read for 20 minutes this evening.
(Click to enlarge. Joshua Scheer photos.)