Tinley Park Rock Point is a small but determined community located on the Navajo Reservation in Northeastern Arizona near the four corners of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. The community consists of over 1,600 people scattered in family over an area of approximately 100 square miles. The community “center” consists of an Anglo-owned trading post, a Lutheran Mission Church and School, a community Chapter House (a community meeting place and headquarters of community government), and the Rock Point Community School. The school itself has approximately 400 students that come from all over the area. RPCS is a K-12 day school with a bilingual/bicultural emphasis. Approximately 45% of the population prefer to speak the Navajo language.
Network students may come and participate in a typical daily schedule, which includes many courses unique to RPCS and its culture. The Senior High offers standard academic subjects as well as History, Government, and Economics in the Navajo language. Visiting Network students will be expected to participate in the regular academic program, though they may take electives and/or arrange for special tutoring in Navajo language, culture, and the arts – basketry, weaving, or silversmithing (please call for offerings, as these courses are scheduled only certain quarters). A traditional Song and Dance Festival is held in late February. The month of November is observed as Native American Awareness month in which a variety of cultural activities are planned.
Living Arrangements and Travel
RPCS Network exchanges are currently only open to small group chaperoned by a Network adult. Though host family situations have been arranged in the past, students typically stay in housing on the school grounds with their chaperone and, though school breakfast and lunch is available, the group will be responsible for its own dinner preparation. As the local trading post is small, it is advisable that chaperones food shop prior to arrival on the reservation. If students are placed in a host family, it should be noted that Navajos are generally not vegetarians, although a vegetarian will enjoy the fall when a wide variety of foods made with corn can be experienced. Corn is tied closely to the culture of the Navajos.
The Navajo Reservation is like a foreign country within the United States, especially for those coming from the city or the suburbs. Navajo culture differs greatly from that of Anglo people. Adjustment to such a new situation may be difficult for some and; visitors may feel lonely and isolated at first. Network students interested in visiting RPCS must be very mature, independent, and comfortable navigating a new school and community with little assistance. Network guests should be academically solid students. They should be prepared to live in accordance with the expectations of the host community.
Visiting students will have an opportunity to experience daily life in an isolated Native American community which is attempting to bridge the traditional past and the contemporary reality of the dominant society.
Students should fly only into Farmington, NM Airport and travel by rental car with their home school chaperone.
Note: Though Phoenix airport may have lower airfares, it is approximately a six hour drive to the reservation.
Students should complete the Network Student information form and return it to their Network Advisor. Only four students will likely be accepted each year. Network advisors should notify the organization when planning a trip to RPCS, so that other Network schools might participate, as well. See the School Calendar for vacation dates.
Download this information in PDF format here: ROCK POINT.pdf
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