Students Visit Alumni at Area Universities, Prep for College

posted on October 15, 2013

Savannah ‘14, Gabby ‘14, Genriel ‘14 and Jaycherie ‘14 gazed out a school bus window last month as they drove across the open, rolling prairie on their way to Sioux Falls, on the other end of the state, a stone’s throw from Iowa. On this exploratory trip, organized by Red Cloud Indian School’s innovative Student Advancement and Alumni Support Office, these high school seniors had the opportunity to visit with representatives from Harvard University, Stanford University, Pennsylvania State University, Duke University and Georgetown University and with Red Cloud alumni—their friends—who are already enrolled and succeeding at a number of area schools.

“This trip really brought it all together for me,” says Jaycherie ‘14. “If these trips didn’t exist, many of the students at Red Cloud would never be able to visit a college and there would be so much they didn’t know about.”

“After attending the college fair and visiting with school representatives, you feel like you know what you’re getting into and you get a chance to ask questions,” Jaycherie ‘14 continues. “I can definitely say that I know more now about how to apply and the admissions process now and I think I have a better idea of where I’ll apply.”

Alumna Mickie Hudsepth’13, who is studying at Augustana College with plans to enter the medical field, met with the soon-to-be Red Cloud graduates to talk with them about college life and how the transition from reservation to university life has been.

“It’s vitally important for current students to meet with alumni who are already in college,” says Nakina Mills ‘98, director of student advancement and alumni support at Red Cloud. “Seeing their peers in this new environment makes college seem more attainable and maybe for the first time, a real possibility for their future.”

This trip is one of many that will take place throughout the year. Thirteen students joined Nakina in late September for a trip to Creighton University, where many Red Cloud graduates look to continue their Jesuit-inspired education.

“We also have plans to visit Western Dakota Technical Institute, United Tribes College, University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Black Hills State University,” says Nakina. “Visiting these colleges is really opening their eyes to the opportunities that come with a quality, college education.”

Nakina’s work, coupled with Red Cloud’s high-quality academic curriculum, is playing a major role in student success. While, nationwide, only half of Native students their diploma each year (only one third earn a diploma in South Dakota) nearly 100% of Red Cloud graduates pursue higher education or post-secondary training.*

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