Tribe's Education Liaison Creates Motivation For Kids


When students who are members of the Tonto Apache Tribe get their report cards, they have more to worry about than their parents.

As education liaison for the Tonto Apaches, Tinnen has access to the reports from students who are tribal members. He tracks their progress, provides help to the students and their parents, and works with school officials. His main duty as education liaison is to see that the students from the tribe are maintaining passing grades.

"I can check with the principals at the different schools," he said. "They can tell me what's going on with the students, if the students need tutoring, but the parents have to request that I get that information from the schools."

Tinen said the tribe provides a tutor for all the students at Frontier Elementary School, not just tribal members.

Eighteen students from the Tonto Apache Tribe are currently attending FES. Tinnen said there are 11 students from the tribe at the high school this year.

"A lot of concern of the (Tonto Apache) community is for education of the kids," he said.

Tinnen was hired two years ago as education liaison for the tribe. "I would like more time to work with education," he said, "teach the kids." He has another job with the tribe, as insurance liaison, that sometimes takes more time than he would like.

Tinnen also runs the tribe's summer youth program. He is planning to get a DARE program and a Boys and Girls Club of America started at the reservation -- "not only for our kids, but for all the kids."

As a former member of the tribe's original donation committee, which was formed in 1997, Tinnen has a knowledge of what programs the tribe is interested in funding.

One percent of all the money the tribe takes in goes to donations.

Since 1997, the tribe has donated about $30,000 to various schools in Payson and Pine-Strawberry.

He said the tribe also donates to the Kiwanis Youth Auction and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation's "Wild Outdoor World" magazine, which is published for fourth grade students.

The Tonto Apache Tribe also donates to athletic programs. Tinnen said he hopes students will be motivated by the prospect of getting into the athletic programs and will get better grades.

"A student can see, if he brings his grades up, he can play golf or be on the baseball team," Tinnen said.

"You hear so much about the tribe having all this money. The tribe does a lot for the community, for all the schools and all the students. We're really involved in the education part."

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