New principal Barry Warren, a tribal member, welcomes students with event to kick off school year
INCHELIUM - On their first day, Inchelium students, teachers, staff and some parents filled the Inchelium School gymnasium to be greeted into the new year from Colville tribal member Barry Warren, the district’s new principal.
“Take a look around at the community members here, all the teachers that are here,” Warren said to the students. “We’re here for you, the students. We’re here for you. You have a responsibility to your community to do your best. That’s all we ask for. Do your best. Take advantage of all these people here to support you, to cheer you on.”
During a 30 minute assembly, former Inchelium alumni Joel Boyd, Roy Bradshaw and Linda Desautel welcomed the students into the new year.
Boyd, a Colville Business Council member, spoke concerning responsibility.
“You all woke up today. You woke up when your alarm went off, or you woke up when your parents woke you up. You’re ahead of the game. Your responsibility was to be here today, be present, be alert,” said Boyd. “There’s a lot of things that fall under responsibility, but one of those is that you are focused. You are responsible for listening to your teachers. It’s not up to your teachers to know if you understand, it’s up to you to make sure you’re telling your teacher if you aren’t understanding. They’re teaching you at a rate you should be learning at. If you’re not learning that, it’s up to you to ask the teacher if they can help you understand.”
Bradshaw, a Colville Tribal Police Officer, spoke concerning courage.
“The Chinese say you have three faces,” said Bradshaw. “One face you show the world. One face you show your friends, and one face you show nobody. That’s your true self. When you wake up in the morning, be as close to that person as you possibly can, so when you go to sleep at night you can lay your head on your soft pillow and know you were true to yourself. Have the courage to be your true self.”
Desautel, a tribal elder, spoke concerning honor.
“One of the things I want to see you all strive to do is honor yourself,” said Desautel. “If you don’t pride in yourself. If you don’t have respect in yourself. If you do not have responsibility for yourself, you can never, ever honor anything. Like Roy said, it comes from who you really are. Remember that whenever you are out representing the school. Show pride in yourself. Show respect to yourself and others, but most important honor yourself.”
Each of the presenters also spoke about bullying.
“Each of you are responsible to step up and help when you see anyone being bullied,” said Boyd. “If it’s you being bullied, you can step up. You can say something to a teacher. You can say something to prevent that other person from bullying someone else. If you’re witnessing someone being bullied, it’s your responsibility in the same way.”
“Have the courage to step up to a bully even for someone who isn’t your friend,” said Bradshaw, “No matter how big or small you are, courage is in all of us.”
“Stepping up to someone who is being mean to someone else, standing by someone and not letting others bully them, that’s honor,” said Desautel.
Inchelium currently has 210 students enrolled in their Kindergarten through 12th grade classes.
Warren, whose grandfather Alvin Toulou worked as a bus driver in the Inchelium School District for years, is in his first year of serving as a school principal.
“This is a learning year for me in a lot of ways and a year to set a new direction for our students and staff,” said Warren following the assembly. “We’re excited. I think we have a good staff and we hope that students to have a great year. One of the things I want to do is bring a lot more of our native ways of teaching and learning into the school, and I think this was a good start at that.”
Warren, a Rogers High School graduate, previously taught in the Columbia School District in Hunters and in the Chewelah School District for 12 years. He holds a Master of Education Degree from George Fox University and received his principal certification through Washington State University’s Ti’tooqan Cuukweneewit Native Teaching and Learning Community project, a grant-based program that provides support for the recruitment of Native/Indigenous teachers and education administrators, according to the program webpage.
Warren noted Inchelium School is currently hiring a new language teacher, and he also noted changes in the school’s behavior policies.