Our Affiliated Site: Shonto Preparatory School in Shonto, Arizona
The remote community of Shonto is situated on the rim of its namesake canyon, some 150 miles north of Flagstaff, amid the incredible desert beauty of the Navajo Indian Reservation. The Reservation comprises more than 27,000 square miles of spectacular yet inhospitable countryside, extending into both Utah and New Mexico. Despite its massive scale and rich cultural heritage, residents of the Reservation are desperately poor. There is virtually no employment, and broken homes, alcoholism, and inadequate food are constant manifestations of poverty.
For this reason, Shonto Preparatory School serves as a beacon of hope to its surrounding community. The Shonto Preparatory School began years ago as a cluster of “hogans” – traditional Navajo dwellings made of logs and mud, constructed in an octagonal shape. The hogan has only one opening – a doorway – which traditionally faces east. Today, the school is funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and is a complex of modern buildings. Its faculty strives to provide children here with a quality education – the key to breaking the cycle of poverty so that students may rise above the difficult economic circumstances from which they come.