Dine College

News Release

Diné College Student Spotlight

TSAILE, AZ- For most of us, being 17 years old involved high school dances and seven classes a day, five days a week.  For 17 year-old Ethan Tom, his weeks consist of a full-time college class schedule and student club responsibilities.

Ethan (Tó'aheedlíinii, Bit'ahnii, Ta'neeszahnii, Tábąąhá) is the youngest student to attend Diné College as a full-time student.  He enrolled as a full-time freshman at age 15 and has continued to excel. Ethan is set to graduate this may with his Associate of Arts degree in Elementary Education and will enter the Diné Teacher Education Program in the fall.

Ethan's story of academic excellence actually began in elementary and middle school where he was promoted twice, allowing him to graduate two years early.  During his senior year in high school, Ethan received numerous scholarship offers to major colleges and universities across the nation.  Because of his age, he and his family decided that Diné College was the best fit.  Their decision was based on the fact that the College was close to Ethan's home in Lukachukai and offered a stellar Diné Teacher Education program, which was academic interest.

Ethan had no problem settling into college life, "age wasn't really an issue...I've always felt older, emotionally and mentally, and have affiliated with older students."  Most of his peers do not know his age unless he, or someone else divulges it.  He credits Diné College for allowing him to become more self-sufficient.  He feels that he has matured a lot since high school. This maturity has served Ethan well.  He is currently the President of the Green Club and the Treasurer of the S.T.A.R club at Diné College.

Ethan's future goals include teaching in his home community as a way of giving back.  Through that, he hopes to inspire the younger generation to do the same, "It's always a matter of bringing [education] back to your community. There's a part of you that you'll never leave behind - your culture, your people, your community- and it's important to give back."