Meet Some of Our Graduating Seniors

updated May 20, 2017


Taylor Brooks

Hometown: Porcupine

Best part of being a Red Cloud student: “Just the fact that you’re at the best school on the reservation—that you have the chance and opportunity to get the best education that you can.”

Accomplishments and Activities: Serving as a peer leader on the spiritual formation team and student council, and starting a youth group focused on suicide prevention. “I met weekly with youth to talk about topics like suicide, teen pregnancy, and drug and alcohol prevention. I feel like I made a difference—even just making an impact on a few kids is a major step.”

Plans for next year: “I’m going to the University of California, Los Angeles in the fall, to major in psychology. I want to understand the brain—to understand why people do what they do, so that you can help them on a deeper level with their problems.”

Greatest lesson from your time at Red Cloud: “Being a good person. Red Cloud holds their students to a very high standard—not just in academics but in having good morals and being respectful, and just loving and kind to everyone here.”

Dreams for the future: “I want to do well in school and eventually get my doctorate in psychology—and then come back to the reservation to be a psychologist or child therapist, in order to help my people.”


Steven Wilson

Hometown: Number 4

Best part of being a Red Cloud student: “From the moment you get into Red Cloud, a lot of doors open up for you. There are so many opportunities that people offer—and I think being able to go through those open doors is the best part of being a student here.”

Accomplishments and Activities: Taking part in cross country, art and hand games, managing basketball and track, being able to travel to places like Washington, DC and Chicago

Plans for next year: “I’ll be attending the University of South Dakota, and I’m torn between pre-med and biology or a Native American Studies major with an emphasis on Lakota language. I was really inspired by the elders and the people around me keeping the Lakota language alive. At the same time, I grew up around my grandma, mom, and other family members in the medical field, who inspired me to go after a pre-med track to become a doctor. So I have an emotional connection to both.”

Greatest lesson from your time at Red Cloud: “Definitely spirituality and the language—being able to be incorporated into my own culture. I firmly believe you need to know who you are and where you’re coming from to know where you’re going.”

Dreams for the future: “I don’t have anything complicated that I want to achieve—I just want to live a life where I’m able to express who I am, and be working and doing what I love in the future.”


Kasey Miller

Hometown: Pine Ridge

Best part of being a Red Cloud student: “Being able to grow closer to my class—being able to call each other family and always having that support system there whenever you need them.”

Accomplishments and Activities: Athletics, including football and ice hockey. “I’m really passionate about hockey—and I’ve used it as a way to inspire the younger generation, to show them they can do whatever they want, as long as they put in the hard work.”

Plans for next year: “I’m going to attend Fort Lewis College and study sports medicine. After that, I want to get a sports medicine team going on the reservation, so that our Native athletes have access to that service.”

Greatest lesson from your time at Red Cloud: “I’ll always remember [our Spiritual Formation teacher] Russ Cournoyer telling us to stay connected to where you’re from and who you are. You have to embrace who you are and to take pride in that.”

Dreams for the future: “One of my biggest dreams has been to inspire people—to have someone tell me, because of you, I didn’t give up. I want to be a positive role model who kids can look up to.”


Stephanie Emery

Hometown: Lonesome Valley

Best part of being a Red Cloud student: “All of the friends that you make here—and being a part of a community.”

Accomplishments and Activities: Earning a place in the National Honors Society, attending the conference American Indian Science & Engineering Society, being a part of the team that won the Lakota Nation Invitational Lakota Language Bowl

Plans for next year: “I’m going to the University of South Dakota to major in medical laboratory science. I had the opportunity to participate in the research apprenticeship program at USD, and it really opened a lot of doors and caught my attention.”

Greatest lesson from your time at Red Cloud: “That you can be a part of a community—that there are people everywhere for you, and you’ll have a support system wherever you go.”

Dreams for the future: “I want to come back to the reservation and help the community in the healthcare field. And I want to stay connected with people, and practice the culture language. I want to make not just myself but everyone proud.”


Connor Richards

Hometown: Pine Ridge

Best part of being a Red Cloud student: “The best part of being a student here is all the help Red Cloud offers you. All you have to do is go out and look for it.”

Accomplishments and Activities: Tutoring and mentoring, winning the Advanced Math award at the Lakota Nation Invitational

Plans for next year: “I’ll attend Brown University—and work in research labs during the school year and in the summer. I plan to study Physics, chemistry, and math. They are all interconnected—one subject is the foundation and application of another. It all makes sense to me, and it’s really interesting once you dive further into it.”

Greatest lesson from your time at Red Cloud: “That people are good—and not as biased or judgmental as I previously thought.”

Dreams for the future: “I want to get my doctorate. I hope to become a professor, possibly at Oglala Lakota College, and then eventually go back to school to get a degree in secondary education. I want to teach at Pine Ridge High School, because they don’t have some of what we have here.”


Atiana Janis

Hometown: Wakpámni District/Calico

Best part of being a Red Cloud student: “I really loved the teachers and volunteers who come in.”

Accomplishments and Activities: Student Council, AP Champ, Girls Volleyball Manager, Basketball and Cheerleading

Plans for next year: “I’m going to the University of South Dakota to study social work. In seventh grade I was put into a foster home—and I liked talking to my social worker more than anyone else. I think a lot of other kids might feel the same way—and I just want to be that person for others.”

Greatest lesson from your time at Red Cloud: “To never give up on things you want to do. Since we live on the reservation, the statistics for us are really low in basically everything. But Red Cloud really helps you to push to be who you want to be.”

Dreams for the future: “To make myself proud. I’ve been trying to make other people proud and not thinking of myself—but I just want to be content with myself and make myself happy.”

Photos © Red Cloud Indian School


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