Top Nav Breadcrumb

Meet Eve’s Fund scholar Keona Hosteen

Keona Hosteen, Diploma Programme (DP) graduate in the class of 2020, tells us about her decision to join the IB programme at Navajo Preparatory School and reflects on the impact of the Eve’s Fund scholarship on her education and goals. Barbara Crowell Roy, president of Eve’s also shares the impact of the organisation the Navajo Nation.

Meet Eve's Fund scholar Keona Hosteen
Photo of Keona, her parents and Barbara. Image courtesy of Eve’s Fund.

Ya’at’heh (Hello), my name is Keona Hosteen. Call me Ona. I’m currently a senior at Navajo Preparatory School located in Farmington, New Mexico. I am a Native American (Navajo) from Crownpoint, New Mexico, but I reside in Standing Rock (Tse’ii’ahi), New Mexico. My traditional four clans that identify who I am are Red Bottom (Tł’ááshchí’í ), Red Running into the Water (Táchii’nii), Zuni (Tábąąhá) and Water Edge (Naasht’ézhi dine’é). The curriculum at Navajo Prep is different from other schools on the Navajo Nation because of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme, which makes Navajo Prep the only school to have the IB curriculum on the Navajo Nation.

Why did you decide to pursue the Diploma Programme (DP)?

“I noticed how diverse the IB programme is because of how many perspectives and people the programme has to offer”⁠—Keona Hosteen

Ona: The IB education is seen as prestigious. In their review process, colleges consider whether students have set themselves apart from their peers by taking challenging courses. With the IB, not only will my college application stand out but, when I enter college, I will also get the benefit of the many skills I learned. The IB education is not the typical education, which makes the IB much more special and worth taking a chance of. Personally, I have enjoyed all the knowledge I have gained, and it has helped shaped me into the person I am today.

I started preparing myself for the IB Programme as a sophomore in high school. At first, the steps of starting out were easy because I was deciding on the classes I wanted to take and if I wanted to be a certificate or full diploma student. Now, in my 2nd year, I know that IB has changed the way that I work. There are many assignments that have ranged from completing internal assessments (IAs), creativity, action, service (CAS) and the extended essay. The main characteristic I noticed is how diverse the IB programme is because of the many perspectives and people the programme has to offer. The courses are classes that prep students for college. Compared to curriculums at other schools, the IB programme is much more detailed and complicated but the work is doable. I feel that IB has made a positive impact on me and allowed to see the world outside of the Navajo Nation.

Navajo Prep is a private school in which the education is not free like education in public schools is. The tuition is high, even for a school on the Navajo reservation, but this is because the education at Navajo Prep is like no other. I have always tried my best to look for ways to help my family when it comes to my education. I am very thankful for the Eve’s Fund scholarship, which allowed me to continue my education at Navajo Prep.

keona grad
Image courtesy of Keona Hosteen

What advice do you have for IB students and parents considering an IB programme?

Ona: I would recommend students take advantage of the IB programme. For one thing, Navajo Prep is the only school on the Navajo Nation that offers it. The IB programme is challenging, but it is ultimately great for someone to experience. As for me, I have always wanted to try new things, and I decided to do that by being a full diploma student. But the IB programme can be accomplished by anyone. I encourage the parents to allow their child/ren to expand their wings and better prepare themselves for the future (college).

Could you tell us a little more about Eve’s Fund?

Barbara: Eve’s Fund for Native American Health Initiatives was established in 2005 to honor the memory of my daughter, Eve Erin Crowell, in partnership with Eve’s dad, my former husband, the late Dr. Robert M. Crowell. We are a small community-based nonprofit organization with a big mission: to promote hope and wellness among young people across the Navajo Nation—which is the largest tribal reservation in the United States and spans Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Through strong community partnerships, we teach injury prevention (such as our “Buckle Up Navajo Newborns” initiative), promote literacy and offer educational scholarships to at-risk youth. We also provide funding to local organizations and programmes that share our values and vision.

Eve’s Fund is also a partner in the international organization “ThinkFirst,” whose mission is to prevent brain, spinal cord and other traumatic injuries through education, research and advocacy. ThinkFirst Navajo is one of 171 chapters around the world and the only one that operates exclusively on a federally recognized American Indian/Alaska Native reservation, an area in which injury rates are three times the national average due to poverty and other factors.

For the past 15 years, in my beloved Eve’s memory, I have devoted my retirement years to creating and supporting programs aimed at saving and transforming young lives and giving young people hope for a brighter future. Eve’s Fund has developed a strong community presence, won many awards and our programs have had a positive impact on over 60,000 Navajo children and teens.

Why is supporting education a big part of your community-building work?

Barbara: Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Promoting literacy among children and offering educational scholarships to Navajo youth, in addition to keeping kids healthy through injury prevention programs, is how Eve’s Fund helps these kids on the path to a brighter future for themselves and their communities. We established the scholarship programme to address the significant educational needs of high school students on the Navajo Nation. Native American youth are the least likely of any demographic group to graduate from high school. Among those who graduate, few go directly to four-year colleges and among those who do reach college, only a small minority manages to graduate in four years. With support from Eve’s Fund, the Navajo Preparatory School helps students―like Keona―prepare for success in college.

“The fact that the school offers the International Baccalaureate Programme is a big part of their success and the success of their graduates.”⁠—Barbara Crowell Roy

Barbara: We are especially honored to partner with Navajo Prep, as it is the only Navajo-sanctioned, college-preparatory high school for Native Americans. The fact that the school offers the International Baccalaureate Programme is a big part of their success and the success of their graduates. We know students like Keona are provided a rigorous academic curriculum and one that is based on a strong foundation of Navajo Philosophy, enabling them to graduate Navajo Prep with the skills to succeed in collage and beyond. We hope that many of these students will become leaders of their people and help their community to thrive.

We like to think that in some important way the Eve’s Fund Scholarship Programme is transforming young lives for positive change in our world.

keona and barbara 600
Keona and Barbara. Image courtesy of Eve’s Fund.

How has Eve’s Fund supported the Navajo Nation community?

Ona: Eve’s Fund has always been open in supporting Navajo Prep. I received the Eve’s Fund for the first time in 2018, but I did not know that it was offered there when I started as a freshman. Eve’s Fund has been very helpful in understanding how education is important to Native Americans. I have received the scholarship for two years, but I wished I had known about it earlier. I highly encourage people whether, in high school or college, to apply for scholarships because anything helps. I want to thank, Eve’s Fund, for allowing me to continue my education at such a prestigious high school. Ahéhee’ (Thank you).

“We can, through education and providing access to safety gear, strive to reduce the high rate of injuries and death connected to preventable incidents”⁠—Barbara Crowell Roy

Barbara: Eve’s Fund strives to address the most pressing health and safety threats to young people living on the Navajo Nation, the majority of whom would be considered, ‘at risk’, due to the high level of poverty, unemployment and lack of access to the resources. While we are not in the position to address infrastructure issues, we can, through education and providing access to safety gear, strive to reduce the high rate of injuries and death connected to preventable incidents. “Preventable”, is the key word here. Of course, our outreach includes parents and grandparents, since these programmes cannot be successful without their involvement and support or without the support of Navajo Nation agencies, such as the Navajo Department of Health.

At the moment, there is no greater health threat to the Native American population we serve, or a better fit to the mission of Eve’s Fund, than the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. The Navajo Nation, which is the largest tribal reservation in the United States, has been hit hard by COVID-19. The COVID-19 infection rate per capita has now surpassed the state of New York, the center of the pandemic in the U.S. The number of deaths is disproportionately high and both young and old are being affected.

Over the past month, through extensive worldwide news coverage, there has been a heightened awareness of how and why the coronavirus is spreading so quickly across the Navajo Nation. To support the community during this crisis, we kicked off a communications campaign to keep this serious threat to the people we serve top-of-mind and encourage Eve’s Fund supporters to donate directly to the Navajo Nation COVID-19 Relief Fund, through the Navajo Department of Health. Eve’s Fund also made a $5,000 donation to the Navajo COVID-19 Relief. While our other programmes are not going away, at the moment we feel we can best support the Navajo community with an, “all hands on deck”, approach to the COVID-19 crisis.

keona 600

Keona Hosteen is a 2020 high school graduate from Navajo Preparatory School. She is involved in many science-related activities and has been a part of the national Lexus Eco Challenge. She lives on the Navajo Nation and enjoys learning new things, listening to music, and watching Korean Dramas.

To hear more from Diploma Programme (DP) graduates check out these IB programme stories. If you are an IB grad and want to share your story, write to us at [email protected]We appreciate your support in sharing IB stories and invite you to connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter and now Instagram!

If you enjoyed this story, consider reading more below: