Native Village Youth and Education News
May 1, 2009 Issue 198
Volume 2

Family's 1st Graduate Plans to Give Back

By Jacelle Ramon-Sauberan
Condensed by Native Village

Arizona: Candace Begody wears many hats at the University of Arizona. Among her accomplishments:

   A senior with a major in journalism and minor in American Indian Studies;
   A 2007 graduate of the Freedom Forum American Indian Journalism Institute;
  Interned at The Missoulian newspaper in Missoula, Mont.;
   Interned at the Navajo Times in Shiprock, N.M.;
  Is the current Miss Native American University of Arizona;
  Named one of UA's  top 12 students;
  Founded UA's  Native American Journalists Association chapter;
  Was selected nationally with 8 other students for the Roy W. Howard Reporting Competition Award. It includes a 2-week, all-expenses-paid trip to Japan in Summer, 2010

For Candace, however, the accomplishment she holds closest to her heart  is graduating in May, 2010 and becoming a first-generation college graduate. "One of my mentors told me it takes a village to raise a child and it took a lot of people to help me get to where I am today," she said.

 After graduation, Begody will return home to the Navajo reservation to volunteer in her community. She may also attend law school.  "I could get five degrees or work a minimum wage job, just as long as I'm giving back to our younger ones and the community," Begody said.


Candace, 21, grew up in Ganado, Ariz. She and her grandmother, Lena Shirley, lived in a cabin without plumbing or electricity. Begody's fondest memories are weaving and hunting prairie dogs with a homemade slingshot. Her grandmother did not speak English but they communicated.

"I thought my grandma was cool and I felt special being with her," Begody said. "Now that I look back on it, my grandmother was someone I learned from." Her grandmother now lives with Candace's aunt.

In 2006 when Begody was a college freshman, her older brother, Christopher, died in a car accident. Afterwards, when she returned to school, Candace sometimes had to pull herself aside and cry in the restroom. Then she would breathe, gather her emotions, and go on with her day. She also had a strong network of family and friends who supported her.

"I had a lot of nights filled with tears, questioning, pain and sadness," she said. "But I had my family and roommate Leandra who were there for me."

Begody's parents, Leroy and Laura Begody, could not be more proud of their daughter. "She is my first child that is going to be graduating from college and I don't know what to say," Leroy said. "It's a dream come true."

Laura saids no one in their family has gone this far in school, and it makes her speechless. She is certain Candace will continue to surprise their family with her accomplishments.  "As parents, we support her 100 percent on anything she does," Laura said.

Begody said graduating from college will change her life. The road has been long and hard, but it was well worth it. She said college is not just about graduating with a degree; it is about learning who you are.

"When I graduate it is only the beginning," Begody said. "It is the start of something new."

http://www.reznetnews.org/article/familys-1st-graduate-plans-give-back-31950

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