Six Red Cloud
Students Earn the Prestigious Horatio Alger Scholarship
students have been awarded the prestigious Horatio Alger Scholarship
at Red Cloud Indian Schooltwice the number of any school in
South Dakota and the most the school has had in a single year. The
competitive scholarship supports deserving young people who have
overcome challenges in their lives in order to pursue higher education.
"I am very proud and humbled hearing that we received so many
recipients for the Horatio Alger this year," says Red Cloud High
School Principal Robin Johnson. "The dedication and hard work from
the students, teachers and families inspires us to continue to reach
Red Cloud Indian School is located on the Pine Ridge Indian
Reservation, where the annual per capita income is only $7,887 and
six out of ten children live in poverty. Education is a major challenge
on the reservation: today only twelve percent of Pine Ridge residents
have earned a bachelor's degree. But at Red Cloud, 95 percent of
graduates pursue higher education or post-secondary training. Teachers
and administrators say the high-quality curriculum, supportive environment
and programs that honor Lakota culture make all the difference.
"I feel that this is a great scholarship for our students because
they have faced many challenges and overcome many obstacles to get
to where they are now," says Mike Sunderland, an English teacher
at Red Cloud Indian School who works closely with students on college
and scholarship applications. "I support students who are committed
to attending college and pursuing their goals."
Since 1984, the Horatio Alger Association has
awarded $100 million in scholarships to approximately 20,000 students
across the country.
The association supports low-income students by granting need-based
awards to applicants who have demonstrated integrity, academic potential
and a "personal aspiration to make a unique contribution to society."
Each recipient at Red Cloud will receive $6,000 to apply toward
his or her college tuition next year.
To earn the scholarship, students wrote several personal essays
reflecting on overcoming adversity in their lives, how a person
or organization supported and inspired them, and how they will prevent
future challenges from holding them back from their dreams. Red
Cloud's six recipients say the applications were demanding, but
that they were thrilled when they heard the results.
Red Cloud senior Carrie Beard '14, who plans to study chemical
engineering at the South Dakota Schools of Mines & Technology
next year, says she screamed when she learned she was a Horatio
"Then I told my mom, who actually started cryingit was
so exciting," she explains. "I knew there was going to be so many
people applying, so I wasn't sure how good of a chance I'd have.
But, I knew it would really help send me to college and I knew I
had a lot of help from my teachers, who first told me I should apply.
I'm so thankful for them."
Another Red Cloud recipient, Jennifer Brave Heart '14, is gearing
up to study physics next year at South Dakota State University.
"I was shocked originally and so excited and
relieved," she says. "The first thing I did was tell my mom. She
told me how proud of me she was."
And Genrial Ribitsch '14 says she could not believe the news
"I didn't think it was real when I first read the email. I called
my mom over to read it and she was so happy, she started shaking.
I went down the stairs to tell my auntie and actually fell down
the stairs a little. I was so overwhelmed!"
But the news has sunk in. And now, as Genrial prepares head
off to Kansas University in the fall, she will have the support
of a Horatio Alger scholarship behind her.