A group of Gates Millennium Scholars spent a recent morning with kindergarteners at Kinsey School, reading books and discussing the value of the written word. The NAU group is part of an on-campus organization of Gates Millennium Scholars, first-generation college students including many from Arizona’s Native American reservations.

“I really like doing service work with the organization because we help people from a lot of different backgrounds,” said Natasha Fulton, a recent NAU graduate who attributes much of her success to her Gates Millennium Scholarship. “As an NAU group, we have a common goal of reaching out to as many people as we can, even if it is something as simple as reading a story to students.”

“We brought books so we can give one to every kindergartener and leave extras with the classroom teachers,” said Shania Valentine, who leads the campus-based group of Gates Millennium Scholars. The group’s fundraiser paid for some of the books and others were donated by Bookman’s in Flagstaff.

Gates Millenium Scholars Shania Valentine, Brian Shelby, Sheldon Nanacasia and Natasha Fulton at Kinsey School.

Gates Millennium Scholars Shania Valentine, Brian Shelby, Sheldon Nanacasia and Natasha Fulton at Kinsey School.

Kinsey teacher Nina Anderson said kindergarten is a good time to get students to think about the importance of reading, writing and college, lessons the university students reinforce. “Having NAU so close by is an asset for us when students come into our classroom and support our efforts,” Anderson said.

“Seeing these NAU students and their achievements is an inspiration to my students,” said Monique Martinez, a kindergarten teacher whose students enjoyed being read to by the Gates Millennium Scholars.

The university students and Miss Indian NAU spent time Kinsey School’s three kindergarten classrooms and read to students individually in the hallway.