girl wanted to buy marching band equipment: brass instruments, woodwinds,
drums, cheerleading uniforms and batons.
wanted to buy Native drums and flutes.
another wanted symphony instruments and a grand piano.
paths they chose may have been different, but all three girls in
Nicky Ouelette's seventh-period senior English class were headed
in the same direction: to provide opportunities to their classmates
that are offered in so many off-reservation schools.
see how they are compared to kids in more affluent communities,"
said Ouelette, an English teacher at Little Wound High School on
South Dakota's impoverished Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. "Each
one of my students saw a path to get to where those students were."
University of Nebraska-Lincoln student group is trying to help Ouelette's
students buy band instruments and improve their school. This past
spring semester, members of the UNL Students in Free Enterprise
traveled to Little Wound three times to teach 40 high school students
there how to write grant applications for funds to pay for school-improvement
eventually developed three grant applications: one for band equipment
for Little Wound, a second for weight room equipment and a third
that would pay for two student jobs at a local community center
that would be focused on planning youth activities in Kyle, S.D.
UNL student group also traveled to the reservation twice more to
distribute and help install 20 gardens for tribal members.
the Students in Free Enterprise group is seeking additional grant
funds to help them return to the reservation to continue their community-building
efforts. They have applied for a grant from True Hero Inc., a nonprofit
that awards grants to school and community youth groups that sponsor
service trips and volunteer activities for students.
Hero grants are based on how many online votes each project gets
on its website, www.truehero.org. As of Tuesday afternoon, the UNL
student group's "Pine Ridge Project" had the most votes
with 1,084, or 65 more votes than the next highest-ranked project.
Voting ends Thursday.
Tiggelaar, president of Students in Free Enterprise, said the group
would use any grants from True Hero to install additional gardens
as well as to support its efforts at Little Wound.
money we would get could be used really effectively," he said.
said the Little Wound School doesn't have useable exercise equipment
or band equipment, and the school has committed to paying for a
band teacher should the student receive a grant for the band equipment.
garden kits the team provides include wood planks for the base,
topsoil, chicken wire and seeds for vegetables such as cucumbers,
carrots and green beans. A reservation nonprofit group, Re-Member,
which is helping the UNL group find families to give the gardens
to, now has a waiting list for the gardens, Tiggelaar said.
kind of spread like wildfire," he said.
said the grant-writing project helped get her students engaged in
writing and motivated them to work to improve their community. She
hopes to continue teaching the grant-writing curriculum next fall.
you can find a project or a unit that really grabs the kids' attention,
that's something I want to stick with," she said.