Savana Semallie, Madison HS November Student of the Month

Posted on: Wednesday, 20 November 2019


- Name: Savana Lia Semallie ( pronounced as Small- e)
- Age: 17
- Family: Jackie Semallie is my mom. Jorja Semallie Smith is the middle sister, and my youngest sister is named Sedona Semallie Smith. Their dad is named Christopher Antonio Smith
- Year at Madison High School: Senior
- Activities at Madison High School: Club member/former co-president of Madison Indigenous alliance, Member of Culture Community Connect. CCC is a student led club that wants to reach out to the incoming freshmen and sophomores and give support.
- Involvement in the community outside school (church, volunteer organizations, youth, music, sports, etc.): I'm apart of Caldera, a non-profit organization that believes in the power of creativity. They give opportunities to students of PPS, to spend time in central Oregon to create art, and explore the environment.
I'm a Step Up alumnus, which is a school support program that helps with tutoring/school attendance, and follows incoming freshmen to their sophomore year
- Plans for the, career: I'm still considering what college I want to attend. I'm torn between Portland State University or Fort Lewis College. FLC is a 4-year college in Durango, Colorado that was originally an Indian Boarding school, but was converted to a college tuition-free for Native American students. I want to pursue Education and Indigenous Studies. In the long-run I am considering a teaching career, so that I can teach and live indigenous values. Culture connection is an important aspect of me. I ideally want to change how our education system values students.

- Who inspires you? My mom and my teachers. Its a cliche, but I emphasize their importance on how my values changed in life. They made me who I am today.

- Who's your biggest role model? My teacher Ian Twiss, and Mom. Jackie worked hard for her family as a NAYA family worker, and works harder for her family daily. I aspire to her perseverance through tribulations and the generosity she shares with her families. Twiss is my role model due to the fact that he was my only Native teacher I saw throughout my career as a student and shows humility with every aspect he does when he's on the job. He acts like a student, because he is still one in his own way. He learns about the people he works with everyday.
- What drives you to succeed? To see my mom smile, and to one day see her smile as i'm walking in a cap and gown for my college graduation. I also keep working, and loving myself  because I have two pairs of eyes watching every move I do as an older sister. I want to be an aspiration for my younger sisters.

- What would be one area of our community you would like to see improvement? I want to see more funding toward innovations for the native communities in Portland, and my home state Arizona. I want stability provided for low income native families in PDX. 

Tuesday Morning at 7:00am
Breakfast Included
Ecotrust Building
721 NW 9th Ave #200
Portland, OR 97209