RIDGE, S.D. Six students from Red Cloud High School on the
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, S.D., have received the coveted Bill
and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholarship, putting them one step
closer to realizing their dreams of going to college.
Blacksmith, Sarah Herman, Blaine Leftwich, Montana Sierra, Jacey
Twiss and Autumn White Eyes, all seniors, have earned full-ride
scholarships to the college of their choice due to their outstanding
academic accomplishments in the classroom and contributions to their
school and reservation outside the classroom.
are extremely proud of these students and commend them on all of
the hard work that they have put into their academics and extracurricular
activities over the past four years, said Nick Dressel, high
school principal. Winning the Gates Millennium Scholarship
is a great accomplishment and a good start to helping them fulfill
Gates Millennium Scholarship is funded through the Bill and Melinda
Gates Foundation and pays for any unmet financial need that the
students may have during their post-secondary studies, at any institution
in the country.
the 18 students that earned Gates Millennium Scholarships in South
Dakota, six came from Red Cloud the most in the state. Red
Cloud also is distinguished in earning the second largest number
of scholarships in the nation, just behind Santa Fe Indian School
in New Mexico.
feel very honored and relieved to have earned this scholarship,
Herman said. Its like a weight has been lifted off my
shoulders. Now, I have the opportunity to experience life off of
the reservation while continuing to accomplish my goals.
my life I have dreamed of going to college and getting a degree
that will enable me to come back to the reservation and do all that
I can to benefit my people, especially the children, said
Blacksmith, a standout student-athlete on the boys basketball
team. This scholarship will enable me to do just that, and
I plan on making the most of it so that I can make not just myself,
but my family and most importantly, my people, proud.
am incredibly grateful for this scholarship, said Sierra,
a student-athlete who led the boys golf team to a second place
finish at state. It gives me a real sense that I have accomplished
something important during my tenure at Red Cloud.
Gates Millennium Scholarship is awarded to students who exemplify
excellence in the classroom and leadership within their own communities.
Students at Red Cloud who are interested in this scholarship participate
in an essay writing class, are mentored by college students and
professors through a program with Creighton University and are encouraged
to attend summer programs designed to teach them more about the
scholarship and college application process.
can remember hearing about the Gates Scholarship when I was a freshman,
Leftwich said. I recall hearing about all the seniors who
got the scholarship, and knowing that I wanted it for myself. But
I never thought it would actually happen. I am so grateful to all
the teachers, mentors, family members and people across the reservation
who believed in me. They were my driving force in this whole process.
really was a long, stressful application process with all the essays.
But it really paid off in the end, and I feel so relieved and, frankly,
humbled that I have been awarded this prestigious scholarship,
total, 44 students from Red Cloud High School have been awarded
this scholarship since the programs inception in 1999.
like a dream, said White Eyes, who will attend Dartmouth College
next year. I still cannot believe that all the hard work that
myself and my classmates have committed to has paid off. Words cannot
express how grateful I am to everyone who has made this a reality.
years recipients will attend a variety of schools, from Dartmouth
College in New Hampshire to Arizona State University and the University
of New Mexico.
continue to be in awe of our students, said Fr. Peter Klink
SJ, president of Red Cloud. These scholarships are a wonderful
testimony to the hard work of these students and a great tribute
to all who have assisted them in achieving this accomplishment.
These students are living examples of what can be achieved when
you work hard, and dare to dream. I look forward to the positive
contribution that these and all our graduates can and will make
in the future.
will they go, what will they study:
Blacksmith, undecided, pre-med and sports medicine
Herman, Arizona State University, nursing
Leftwich, Marquette University, chemical engineering
Sierra, Arizona State University, landscape architecture
Twiss, University of New Mexico, computer science
White Eyes, Dartmouth College, pre-med, chemistry, Native American
Studies or English