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Navajo royalty work as waitresses for a good cause

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  • Robert Schmidt
    http://www.gallupindependent.com/2007/december/122607kf_nvjorylty.html Navajo royalty work as waitresses for a good cause By Karen Francis Diné Bureau WINDOW
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 28, 2007
      http://www.gallupindependent.com/2007/december/122607kf_nvjorylty.html

      Navajo royalty work as waitresses for a good cause

      By Karen Francis
      Diné Bureau

      WINDOW ROCK — Customers at the Diné Restaurant were treated like royalty
      Saturday.

      In reality, they were waited on by royalty as Miss Navajo Nation 2007-2008,
      Jonathea Tso, and other royalty from throughout the region, greeted and
      waited on customers — all for a good cause

      The Tip-A-Royalty day at the restaurant was to raise money for a very
      special cause — the Navajo Nation Special Olympics. Throughout the day
      royalty from all over came to help out the nation’s special education
      athletes.

      It was a great opportunity for tourists visiting the area to meet Miss
      Navajo, princesses, and one brave from around the Navajo Nation, especially
      for one Gallup couple who brought their friend visiting from Virginia .

      “We came here to eat not knowing this was going on,” Stephen A. Shepp from
      Gallup said.

      “They want to help. I had five come at once,” he said.
      Patrons were generous — many leaving $10 to $20 tips for the extra special
      service.

      “Oh boy, this is successful!” coach for St. Michael’s Special Education
      School Larry Curtis said as he helped to wait tables.

      Miss Northern Navajo Alyssa Harrison was one of the royalty waiting tables
      for the cause. She noted that the royalty draws a lot of crowds.

      “People want to see what is going on,” she said.

      Harrison was using humor to get the customers to cough up extra money.

      “I tell people ‘You’re sitting at the $30 tip table.’ When I come back I
      see $20,” she said.

      Their duties included greeting customers, taking and delivering orders and
      cleaning tables. Regular wait staff from the restaurant helped them get
      through the day.

      “We just walk them here, seat them, give them drinks, bus tables,” Miss
      Window Rock High School Latasha Tom said. “So I think I’m hired,” she said
      laughing.

      Tom, a senior at the high school, was at the restaurant all day beginning
      at 8:30 a.m., as were many other of the royalty. When they got tired, there
      was inspiration like Crystal from St. Michael’s Special Education School to
      keep them going.

      Crystal, 13, was at the restaurant with a teaching device specific for
      Navajo children. Pressing two buttons, she made it say “Hello Miss Navajo.”

      “She’s one of the students were trying to assist with,” Jovita Curtis, a
      teacher at St. Michael’s Special Education School, said.

      Crystal is one of 54 athletes at the school who participates in the Special
      Olympics program, particularly the softball throw and the relay race.

      The Special Olympics is a year round program that gives challenged children
      the opportunity to participate in sports and physical activities including
      bowling, basketball, aquatics, cycling, gymnastics, track and field, golf
      and cheerleading.

      “It’s important because we would like our handicapped kids to also have the
      same experience other kids have,” Coach Curtis said.

      Curtis agreed saying “For a lot of children with disabilities, there’s not
      much they can participate in and they enjoy being a part of activities and
      games just as regular students.”

      She said that it’s an event that the pupils look forward to each year.

      “They want to be out there practicing and being a participant,” she added.

      Curtis said that the coaches from around the Navajo Nation meet regularly
      and when they found out they were facing a funding shortage this year, they
      decided to do something about it. Noting that other Special Olympics
      programs enlist the aid of law enforcement for Tip-A-Cop activities in
      Phoenix , the group decided that type of fund raiser might work for them.

      Since former Miss Navajo Nation Jocelyn Billy was heavily involved in the
      Special Olympics this past year and the current Miss Navajo continued her
      support, the decision was made to hold the first ever Tip-A-Royalty day at
      Diné Restaurant.

      During Miss Navajo’s leadership meeting last month for royalty around the
      Navajo Nation, the project was announced and they began planning for the
      day, which included getting food handler’s permits.

      “I’m just really grateful because these girls are donating their time,” Tso
      said. She added that they were getting a lot of good tips and that the
      table space fees from the bazaar also held at the restaurant would be going
      to the Special Olympics program as well.

      “I think it’s something different. It’s nice to see royalties doing
      something like this,” Miss Diné College Danielle Goldtooth said. “It’s been
      a lot of fun.”

      Goldtooth said that one of her cousins is in special education programs and
      described her as one of her heroes.

      “They’re really special people. Their disability gives them a different way
      of seeing things,” she said.

      She added that what she has learned from her cousin is, “No matter what the
      day brings you, you can be happy.”

      Though she hasn’t been able to attend any Special Olympics events yet, she
      said she can’t wait to see one. Goldtooth is a sophomore at the Shiprock
      campus majoring in biology.

      For Miss Tseyi Shannon Gorman, a junior at Chinle High School , it was an
      opportunity to do something she always wanted to do.

      “It’s pretty awesome. I always wanted to be a waitress,” she said smiling.

      The royalty were routinely rounded up as customers repeatedly requested
      photos before leaving. The princesses smiled through it all.

      “I think when they come in, they’re not expecting to see us,” Gorman said.

      She laughed adding that people were asking if they did this sort of thing
      all the time.

      While this fundraising event is the first one of its kind on the Navajo
      Nation, plans are underway by the Central Agency royalty to hold a similar
      fundraiser in Chinle.

      Miss Central Navajo Dorothea Paul is working with other royalty from the
      Central Agency to organize that event in Chinle for a yet to be determined
      cause.

      Paul was helping out at the event in support of special education students
      because she has family members who are part of such programs.

      “It’s about time we noticed them,” she said.

      Curtis said that there are approximately 500 athletes from across the
      Navajo Nation who participate in the Special Olympics.
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