De’Vra Richards, daughter of Lorena Richards is getting help from her big brother, Joseph Garcia as she builds her volcano for the SUIMA Family Night.
Juana Hendren Primary Teacher
Malia and Shayne White Thunder, daughters of Heather White Thunder, help each other with their STEM project (volcanoes) during the SUIMA Family Night.
Photo Credit: courtesy Lorena Richards
Photo Credit: SUIMA
Photo Credit: courtesy Heather White Thunder
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From the Eagle’s Nest

Being with family is what matters most

As spring break approaches, many people start thinking about what to do with the family, whether it is traveling, skiing, or staying home. Of course, the Coronavirus has changed the way we enjoy time together. Since the virus appeared, our day-to-day lives have been upended and what was a normal routine, turned into a different “new-normal” so that we can all stay safe. 

Through all of this, being with family is what has mattered most. While the Coronavirus may have brought hardships for many families who are facing illness or the loss of a loved one, this has also been a once-in-a-lifetime chance to re-examine the way we’ve been living and shaking some things up so we can try new adventures. 

Since the pandemic stared, families are getting more time outdoors and experiencing nature; some have purchased exercise equipment; parents are teaching their children how to cook; and riding bicycles have become a passion for many. When it comes to schooling, an ordinary week, (pre-COVID), was usually filled with running around, dropping kids off, hurried workdays, rushed dinners, and evening meetings or games. 

Often, it felt like we didn’t have enough time to do anything! Now, our calendars have opened up. Yes, there may be a plethora of emails, but checking them at home has afforded us the chance to connect as a family, help with homework, binge watch episodes of old sitcoms or just a chance to talk. 

Here at SUIMA, we have been enjoying the way the Parent Advisory Group Family Nights have changed. While we provide whatever supplies are needed, the families have joined through a virtual platform. The first time we did this, it was uncomfortable, but our most recent one would be an example for how we morphed an in-person event into an online event that is now full of energy and laughter.  Our topics for this school year have included Ute Language Bingo, pumpkin carving, Christmas stocking decorating, storytelling and volcano making. While one way isn’t better than the other, it just shows that we have all become resilient and have refused to let the coronavirus get us down. 

Staff Spotlight

The staff who is being spotlighted for this edition of the Drum, understands how family can adapt to whatever comes her way. For five years, Ms. Juana Hendren has worked for the Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy. Before she joined us as a primary level teacher, she worked at the Head Start. 

Juana Hendren
Primary Teacher

Juana enjoys spending time with her family by fishing, camping, and going to the movies (when we used to be able to do that!) Along with her son Timothy, Juana has four brothers, her parents, 16 nieces and nephews and two great nieces and two great nephews. Family is very important to her as you can see! 

Ms. Hendren says that the best part of working at SUIMA is the students and her great coworkers. Her favorite quote is, “to thine own self be true.” Juana also has some good advice, whether you are a student or an adult: Always do your best; ask for help when you need it; and make time for things you enjoy every day. Thank you, Juana, for being part of the SUIMA family. 


  • The SUIMA kitchen staff will be providing a bag of goodies to go home every Friday so that students may have snacks during the school week. 
  • Parent Advisory Group meeting: Tuesday, March 9 at 6 p.m.
  • Spring Break: Monday, March 15 – Friday, March 19.
  • Parent Advisory Group Family Night: Wednesday, March 24 at 6 p.m.
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