Alfreda Shelton, National Prize Winning Student, 1999 – 2012
Alfreda Shelton -- a nationally recognized history student, a published poet, an eighth grader at Joan McQueen Middle School, a tribal member of Viejas, and a lifelong resident of Alpine -- was laid to rest Saturday on the sovereign nation of the Viejas tribe of Kumeyaay Indians. At memorial and burial services last weekend, her family and friends celebrated the life of an intelligent and kind- hearted achiever who was beloved in Alpine and across East County.
In her 13 years, Miss Shelton accomplished many feats. While a student at Day-McKellar Preparatory School in La Mesa, Miss Shelton was a member of a team of middle school students that won first place at the 2011 National History Day competition in Maryland. Although they were rookies to the competition, the team’s presentation on the US-led boycott of the 1980 Olympics wowed the judges at each tournament level and enabled them to take home the national championship. (See photo on page 2.)
“Some of Allie’s greatest strengths were her work ethic and her passion for learning,” says her teacher and History Day coach Hillary Gaddis. “She often updated me about the self-motivated research she had done the night before or about the novel she had just finished. Her intelligence and insight challenged others and brought out the best in many.”
Miss Shelton served as “head girl” at several Kumeyaay Pow-Wows, and started dancing with the Soaring Eagles dance group “nearly as soon as she could walk,” her mother Amanda Shelton says. She was among the featured dancers selected to perform for the Dalai Lama when the Tibetan leader visited San Diego last year.
A published poet, Miss Shelton’s work was featured several times in Indian Voices. She wrote a play with her teacher Mrs. Gaddis, and appeared in several school theatre productions. “Alfreda was a voracious reader and I always enjoyed our candid literary discussions. She was so gifted with language and expression,” says Mrs. Gaddis.
Born in 1999, Miss Shelton was the oldest of five sisters and cherished her role as the big sister. A loyal friend, she was generous with hugs and affirmations. She is survived by her mother Amanda Shelton, her stepfather B.J. Shelton, and her sisters Jelina, Ayraina, Amber and Amanda. Miss Shelton made her first communion earlier this year at the Viejas Catholic Church Nativity of the Blessed Mary.
Gifts in Alfreda Shelton’s memory can be made at Borrego Springs Bank. Her family appreciates the community support and the gratitude for and celebration of Miss Shelton’s life. For more information, contact Marg Stark, 619.246.4497.