BY BETH HEINEN BELL
Colby Touchine could have chosen any college or university in the United States, never mind the cost.
A Navajo Native American, Colby wanted to become the first member of his family, and a rare member of his reservation, to complete a four-year college degree. So he worked hard during high school to qualify for—and earn—a Gates Millennium Scholarship, which provides funding for tuition, books and living expenses to 1,000 minority students each year, at the college of their choosing.
With the world of colleges available to him, Colby chose Calvin.
“I think I believed there was something bigger than me here,” he says of coming to Calvin. “Like God had a grand plan for me, and I felt Him say that this was the place to help me find it. And Calvin has been that place of exploration for me, learning how to be away from home and see the world through the eyes of many different people.”
It takes several fingers to list the things Colby’s been a part of thanks to Calvin: The Calvin Breakdance Club, rock climbing in Joshua Tree National Park, Rangeela choreographer, SAGA (Sexuality Awareness, Gender Acceptance), hiking in the Grand Canyon, Airband, Calvin’s Got Talent, kayaking in the Everglades. Thanks to a chance encounter in Grand Rapids, the aspiring dancer even had a chance to study with a Tony-winning Broadway choreographer in New York.
The many opportunities provided here haven’t exactly helped Colby narrow down his career options—in 10 years he can picture himself doing everything from teaching dance classes to working on environmental issues in a rainforest. But being at Calvin means he’s on the road towards that “something bigger.” And that, he says, is worth all the hard work it took to get here.
“If you know the reason why you want to come here, and you can see God moving in this place, it will make all the rest more achievable. The little encouragements that I get at Calvin, like going to a dance practice or learning something amazing in class and seeing things in a new light, or being able to represent my culture, they just make it all worth it.”