Historical Profile of Holbrook Indian School
Holbrook Indian School is a first- through twelfth-grade boarding academy that has provided Native American children and youth a safe place to live, learn, and grow for nearly 75 years. It also manages a first- through eighth-grade day school on the Navajo reservation in Chinle, Arizona.
The school’s history began in 1916 with Elder Orno Follett and his wife doing mission work among the Navajos. A school was built in New Mexico in 1918, but it was closed in 1937 due to the Great Depression and a shortage of funds.
In 1941 the Arizona Conference became concerned about doing something for the growing tribes within the conference borders. A full-time evangelist, Marvin Walter, was hired for the job. Learn more about Walter’s work at HIS in this week’s episode.
Holbrook Indian School is operated by the Pacific Union Conference. Its important mission is also funded through donations from individuals who have a heart for Native American youth and Christian education.
Holbrook Indian School History:
HIS Alumni Break the Cycle of Poverty and Abuse; Become Difference Makers for Future Generations—
Four alumni of Holbrook Indian School are dedicating their time and talents to give back to their alma mater. Seeing the students rise above the challenges of their backgrounds, breaking the cycle of poverty and abuse—well, this is the reason Holbrook Indian School was founded.
Learn more about Shanel Draper, Adrain Wiles, Terell Bahe, Mr. Fred Bruce, and Jerena Hunter in this week’s episode, or read more of their story online!
Life at Holbrook; Classes During COVID—
The year 2020 has been one of challenges for Holbrook. The pandemic forced the small boarding school in the desert to make some tough decisions. In doing their part to curb the spread of the virus, students were unable to return to the HIS campus to finish out the 2019-2020 school year. After leaving for spring break, they remained home, many of them living on the Navajo reservation.
The conditions for many of the students were dire. The Navajo Nation had the highest transmission levels of coronavirus in the country. This is largely due to lack of clean water, access to healthy foods, and adequate medical care, along with overcrowded homes. Lack of internet also posed a considerable obstacle to distance learning. Under the leadership of Holbrook principal Pedro Ojeda, the staff worked diligently to keep in contact with the students. Once the state mandates were lifted, they found a way to have them safely return to school as soon as possible.
When the students were allowed to return to campus on August 17, the school had a detailed plan to keep everyone as safe as possible. The year started with 65 students enrolled. From the one-building mission school that opened its doors in 1946 as “SDA Mission School,” Holbrook Indian School has grown into a modern, fully accredited facility that has kept pace with today’s technology and educational standards.
We are blessed by its ministry of faith, hope, and love, and we feel privileged that it is a part of the Pacific Union Conference. Please continue to pray for the students and staff. For more information, visit their website via the link below.
Holbrook Indian School
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“But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’”
– Matthew 19:14