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Santa Fe Indian School seniors donate to Pueblo Relief Fund

David Toledo, Jemez Pueblo governor; Faith Rosetta, Santa Fe Indian School HS principal; Roy Herrera, SFIS superintendent; and Mike Canfield, president and CEO of Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, hold a $5,000 donation from the SFIS Class of 2020 to the Pueblo Relief Fund. (Courtesy Beverlee McClure)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

The Class of 2020 at Santa Fe Indian High School has missed out on many milestones. Spring sports, prom, the senior honors symposium, in-person graduation – all were canceled because of the pandemic.

Now the students have donated $5,000 to the Pueblo Relief Fund, which is delivering supplies to Pueblo communities during the COVID-19 crisis.

Harlan Quintana, a 2020 SFIS graduate from Cochiti Pueblo who served as student body president and senior class vice president, said the class had originally raised the money for its senior banquet and prom.bright spot

“We wanted to put that money to good use. Now more than ever, it’s important that we do as much as we can to help people,” Quintana said. “The tribal communities, some of them are virtually under lockdown, and they can’t leave except for essential workers. This is the way that our class can give back to the communities that raised us.”

The donation isn’t surprising for those who know the class of 108 graduates, said SFIS High School principal Faith Rosetta.

The seniors led a schoolwide strike for climate action in 2019. The year before, they participated in a protest against gun violence.

“They have always been an organizing class,” Rosetta said. “They like action. One of our core values is giving back, and it’s a huge piece of who our students understand themselves to be as part of a greater community. This donation speaks to their values of wanting to give back, wanting to have a voice in saying what’s important to them in this time.”

SFIS students in Pueblo or Navajo communities continue to feel direct effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rosetta said some students or their relatives have contracted the virus.

The Pueblo Relief Fund is organized by the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and the All Pueblo Council of Governors. The initiative had raised $1.14 million as of July 1, and had received $2 million worth of donated items.

Beverlee McClure, vice president for culture and community engagement at IPCC, said the class donation will help with the purchase and delivery of food, water, masks, disinfectants and baby products.

“When you look at these seniors, who had their senior year taken from them, for them to use their funds to give back and help the Pueblos, it really shows how they’re looking toward the future and how they can be of assistance,” she said. “We’re trying to get in front of the need for supplies, particularly PPE, so that the Pueblos aren’t left without. We’re not through this yet.”

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