Dwight Carlston has excelled in and out of the classroom at Navajo Technical College in Crown Point, New Mexico. His accomplishments were recently highlighted on a television show, “The Real Winning Edge.”
Carlston is majoring in environmental science with a concentration in natural resources and is the Student Senate president at Navajo Technical College (NTC). He has a cumulative 3.88 GPA and participates in National Technical Honor Society. Carlston also placed 51st at the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Cross Country Nationals in Lake Placid, New York and competed on the NTC rodeo team as a bull rider.
The 25-year-old told Indian Country Today Media Network that being taped for the show was “a pretty amazing experience” since he’d never been filmed for anything before.
The show features high school and college students who have faced and overcome challenges and are now successful. Each student represents either a sport or an artistic endeavor. The show documents how they’ve conquered difficulties to achieve their goals in their field of talent.
Carlston’s segment on the show will detail his life growing up on the Navajo Nation and how he overcame difficult family circumstances to excel in athletics and academics.
“On the show I basically talk about the challenges and obstacles that not only myself, but other youth face as far as having single parents, being around the areas where drugs and alcohol are the only forms of activity and living in poverty in some communities,” he said. Carlston noted that many youth wonder if being able to further their education is a realistic option while growing up in such an environment.
“A lot of the youth don’t continue on,” he said. “I’ve gone through all the challenges. My mom was a single parent. I’ve seen her juggling two jobs just to support my two brothers. I worked construction a little bit to help out, but I still managed to get myself back in school.”
Carlston was named the NTC Student of the Year for the 2011-2012 school year, which came with a scholarship from the American Indian College Fund and is currently attending school on a Full Circle Scholarship from the AICF. He also received the fund’s first ever Richard B. Williams-Seventh Generation Leadership Endowment scholarship, created to honor the organization’s retired president and CEO.
After he graduates from NTC, Carlston plans on attending Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas to obtain a bachelor’s degree in environmental science. He someday hopes to work for the U.S. Forest Service as a district ranger.
As far as advice for other Native students, he wanted to share some wisdom passed to him from his grandfather: “There are no limitations on what you can do. There are always going to be challenges and obstacles that come up as you journey through your life. In those times you have to become like water because you’ll eventually find a way around whatever obstacles may come in your path. Don’t give up, there’s always a way.”
He also had some wisdom of his own to share. “It has to be you. You have to make those choices,” he said. “You have to be the one to get out there and accept those challenges.”
If you plan on tuning into “The Real Winning Edge” you’ll see three young achievers introduced by a different celebrity—some past celebrities have included country music singer Martina McBride, Ultimate Fighting Champion Matt Hughes, Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix, and NASCAR champion David Reutimann. Carlston was introduced by world champion bull rider Jerome Davis.
To see more details about Carlston’s episode of “The Real Winning Edge," visit RealWinningEdge.com.