Each year, a Ruidoso Middle School Indian Club Princess is chosen from among RMS girls grades six to eight.
Seventh grader Rose Enjady was chosen from among five nominees Thursday to represent her culture, the club and the school for the next year. She is the daughter of Pascal and Erica Enjady.
Public appearances, public speaking and developing leadership skills are just a few of the demands of the position. Nominees must be from a tribe and showcase a traditional talent.
Enjady said she learned more about her culture just by practicing the dance she performed at the pageant. The preteen added, she expects to learn still more about who she is as well as others during her time as princess.
Ruidoso Middle School Native American liaison Alice Tahnito heads up the pageant. She also assists the school's Native American students as well as heading up the RMS Indian Club. The club is designed to help students of any background expand their knowledge of the Mescalero Apache culture.
Tahnito said she sees the club as a means to inspire young people to broaden their horizons and grow through education.
"Native American or not, I just want the kids to learn something new everyday," Tahnito said.
"It's important to be part of your culture," Enjady said. "So that is why I joined the club."
Even at such a tender age, Enjady and the other contestant hold many of the skills Tahnito wants to help instill in club members.
Besides Indian Club, Enjady is a member of several organizations with a calendar that overflows with activities. She credits her parents' willingness to play chauffeur for her ability to be a part of so many activities.
She also dedicates numerous hours to her education. As a high school student, she plans to participate in the dual credit program in order to graduate with an associate's degree. Enjady's plans don't stop there. She hopes her early dedication pays off with a law degree in the future, but not from just any school.
"I want to graduate with a PH.D fellowship from Harvard because it seems different and I know I'll get a higher standard from that," Enjady said.
"I think her motivation is self-driven, it's, 'I can accomplish the things I set my mind to,'" Pascal Enjady said.