ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — “Judge Judy” will take her gavel to the “land of the Code Talkers” to give the keynote address to the 117 expected graduates of Shiprock High School in northwestern New Mexico.
Alexus Uentillie of Shiprock High School wrote the winning Facebook essay for “The Ultimate High School Graduation … with America’s Favorite Judge!” contest, a publicist for the judge told the Journal.
As a result, Judge Judy Sheindlin will give the commencement speech May 21.
Contestants were encouraged to say, in 250 or fewer words, why the people, programs or special spirit makes their high school stand out from the rest.
“Congratulations to Alexus Uentillie … I am thrilled to be coming to Shiprock HS and look forward to being part of the cheering crowd for the class of 2015,” the judge said in an emailed statement.
The student, in her entry, described the Navajo Nation location as the largest township on any reservation in the U.S., a place where plenty of movies have been shot, and a place visited by plenty of actors, “but none have been here to offer us words of wisdom.”
In her show, a tough and outspoken Sheindlin adjudicates real-life small claim disputes in a courtroom set. The show won an Emmy last year and has the highest viewer ratings of any daytime show. Sheindlin, who recently signed a new TV deal that will keep her on the air through 2020, earned a $47 million annual salary in 2013, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In her letter, Uentillie continues: “You may have seen our landmark in movies such as: The Host, The Lone Ranger, Ghost Rider, Transformers, Natural Born Killers, and numerous others. It’s time that we as Navajo youth get the encouragement that we deserve.
“Our class goal is for everyone to graduate and get a college acceptance. We all have aspirations and we are capable of reaching our goals. I think that there is no better way to motivate us than to have someone who is successful tell us anything is possible.
“I, as the Class of 2015’s secretary, want the best for my class and graduation. I believe having you speak at our school would be extremely memorable. It would impact not only my class’ lives, but the people within my community. We could set an example. We could show everyone how determined and well-educated we are. That we aren’t just Native Americans, we are proud Navajos.
“Come to the land of the ‘Code-talkers,’ ” her entry concluded, referring to the critical role Navajos and their language played in World War II.