My name is Mahala Long. I am a senior at Coconino High School. At the age of eight, my family and I moved out to the Navajo reservation to a small community called Dilkon, AZ, which is east of Winslow. Growing up on the reservation taught me to be tough, mentally and physically, but it has also taught me to work for everything; nothing is given to you; everything is earned, which also means work hard and it will pay off. As I grew up in Dilkon, I was taught to respect any sport that I chose to participate in whether it be rodeo or basketball. I was told that "if you show it respect, it will take you places". My dad always tells me to be humble, coachable, and “cool as a cucumber”; I live this philosophy daily. My love for the game started when I was in 4th grade, when my parents put me in National Junior Basketball (NJB). Education has always been first priority in our household, and driving 100 miles (one way) each day to better schooling makes me strive to work harder to get good grades. Because I am a student first, my school work always comes first. I try to finish my homework while at school but if I don't finish, I do it in the car ride home. When we get home we have other responsibilities to tend to. Part of having these responsibilities means to prioritize and school work is the first thing to do.