‘There is meaning in every journey;’ Arapaho Charter celebrated largest graduating class in school history

    (Arapahoe, WY) – Milestones were aplenty at the Arapaho Charter High School 2024 graduation ceremony held Saturday, May 18, ones that were preceded with words like “most,” “first,” and “largest.”

    Largest graduating class in school history (one more than last year!), most early graduates, most on time graduates, most State athletes and finalists, most sports seasons, most new enrollment numbers, most volunteer hours and first graduation student speaker were just a few of these milestones mentioned by school Principal Katie Law, who was also recently recognized for her own accomplishments as Wyoming High School Principal of the Year.

    h/t Vince Tropea, County 10

    The ceremony began with the processional Honor Song, followed by the Flag Song, courtesy of the Young Sky Nation, Arapaho students, and Arapaho Post and Color Guard.


    The Arapaho pledge and a blessing from Kimora Antelope were then conducted, followed by an introduction from Law, and remarks from FCSD #38 Superintendent Curt Mayer and board of trustees Chairman Lionel Bell.

    “You are leading through example whether you like it or not, whether you know it or not, you are,” Law commented after sharing some of the milestones mentioned above.

    “I look back this afternoon on your journey,” Superintendent Mayer shared with the graduates. “A journey that started with small, tentative steps as kindergartners, and looking out into this sea of young adults, I see how far you have progressed. You possess the pride and confidence of a high school graduate.”

    “It’s not just my role as a board member that makes me proud of you,” Chairman Bell later commented. “As a community member as well; we’re all proud.”


    “You have greatness in your blood, resilience in your DNA from your ancestors. I want you to remember that.”

    Jasinya Abeyta then made ACHS history as the first ever student graduation speaker.

    “I would like to give a shout-out to our teachers, who have been more than educators, they have been our guides,” Jasinya shared with the crowd. “They have shown us that we should never stop, even when our worlds stop at times.”


    “High school may be ending, but our stories and lives are just beginning,” Jasinya went on to tell fellow graduates. “As we go forth lets carry with us the spirit of generosity, the courage to keep going, and the determination to make our dreams a reality.”

    Jasinya was also later recognized as the recipient of the Leo Hanway Scholarship, named after the longtime district employee and bus driver.

    The scholarship had two requirements: the student who received it had to regularly ride the school bus, and they had to lead the graduation crowd in a rendition of “The Wheels On The Bus,” which Jasinya gladly did alongside Law, all to smiles from the crowd.

    h/t Vince Tropea, County 10

    Attendees were also in for a treat from keynote speaker Christian Wassana, who some may recognize as an actor from shows like Yellowstone, Reservation Dogs and Lawman: Bass Reeves.

    Wassana talked about the big accomplishments in his life like being named a Nike-N7 ambassador, playing college basketball and working on the shows mentioned above, but mostly he stressed the importance of mental health, doing things even if it makes you scared or uncomfortable, and the importance of Indigenous youth having autonomy in Native representation.

    “As many of you know, in the TV and film world there is not a lot of Native representation,” Wassana, who also works as a Director’s Assistant on Yellowstone where he helps ensure accurate representations of Native culture, told the crowd. “It should be our people telling our stories.”

    “Every single one of you has a story to tell,” Wassana continued. “One day that story may be the story that helps someone overcome.”

    Wassana closed out by saying that Native people are often associated with negative statistics like low graduation rates and leading the numbers in alcoholism. “But that’s not who we are. We are beautiful, strong, proud, resilient people. And today, you guys are changing that statistic.”

    h/t Vince Tropea, County 10

    Principal Law then took the stage once again to recognize some of the milestones mentioned above, as well as give out extra scholarships and awards to the much deserving students.

    Those recognitions included: early graduations (Jasinya Abeyta, Malakai Dresser, Daylene Robertson and Damon SunRhodes), various sports accomplishments, students who worked after school jobs and dual enrollment students.

    Scholarship recognitions included: Jai’ron Rhodes, who received the Student of the Year scholarship through County 10; PaceSetter recipients Jasinya Abeyta and Malakai Dresser; a NOLS scholarship for Ayden Spoonhunter; former Superintendent Roy Brown presented the Grandma Lucy Willow memorial scholarship to Laylo Rodriguez; the scholarship that honors students in the trades who aren’t necessarily college-bound was given to Walter Duran; and the previously mentioned Leo Hanway Scholarship was given to Jasinya Abeyta.)

    Roy Brown was then named as the class honoree, who Law said is the person who “makes Charter, Charter,” and does a number of things to constantly connect the students and the community (he even gave up his office to make it a science room)

    “Students who are here today wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for that guidance,” Law said of Brown.

    h/t Vince Tropea, County 10

    After the recognitions wrapped up, it was time to present the graduates with their diplomas.

    The Arapaho Charter High School Class of 2024 included: Jasinya Abeyta, Walter Duran, Malakai Dresser, Lakota Felter, Benjamin Gardner, Tyras Monroe, Librada Moreno, Jai’ron Rhodes, Daylene Robertson, Laylo Rodriguez, Ayden Spoonhunter, Byrdie Spoonhunter, Damon SunRhodes, and Falling Star Whiteman.

    The ceremony wrapped up with a performance from Patrick Littleshield, and then confetti-fire from the graduates.

    Congratulations, class of 2024, and just like your class motto says: “There is meaning in every journey.”


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