Meet more of Our 2018 Seniors!

April 16, 2018


With graduation just weeks away, our seniors are getting ready to take on their college campuses this coming fall and summer. Meet three more members of Red Cloud’s class of 2018 as they contemplate their futures and their plans for creating positive change in their lives, in their communities, and in the world.





Taylahni Jackson '18

What’s the best part of being a Red Cloud student?  I think Red Cloud’s connect with a lot of really top tier universities and their commitment to making sure we go onto college, is really good for a lot students here. And I think all the seniors this year are really benefiting from that.

During your time here, what made you most proud?  My grandmother, my mom’s mom, she is a fluent Lakota Language speaker but I didn’t grow up around her too much, so coming to school here and dedicating myself to learning Lakota made me feel really good and connected to my culture. I’ve been trying to stay involved in a lot of Lakota-related activities like the speech contest and the LNI language contest. Because they offer an incentive and it’s easier to be involved in things like that with other people.

What are your post-graduation plans?  I got into UC-Berkeley and they have the top environmental engineering program in the country. So I think I’m going there—I already committed. I am also thinking about Swarthmore College, just because of their financial aid packages. So I haven’t completely made up my mind yet, but I think I’m going to Berkeley.

And what are your dreams for the future?  I know I want to study engineering regardless of where I go. I’m not sure really how I will use my education in my career, I just know I want to do something related to engineering. I went to a program this past summer, it was a math and engineering related program, and a lot of people in a lot of different fields of engineering came and spoke to our class and told us about their jobs and what they do everyday. Through them I saw how big a difference engineering can make no matter what level you are on or what type of engineering it is. And that made me feel like I could make a significant contribution to my community or maybe society overall.





Payton Sierra '18

What’s the best part of being a Red Cloud student?  I think the best part of being a student at Red Cloud, especially growing up here since I was 5 or 6, is that we are pretty much a family, we take care of each other, even the teachers. We always make sure everyone is doing okay—check up on each other every now and then. We kind of just come together, especially in the hard times. Another good thing about being at Red Cloud is that it’s a Lakota Catholic school and it’s really open to you learning about other religions and believing in other things, other than Catholicism or Lakota beliefs. I really like that, it’s really comfortable.

During your time here, what made you most proud?  I think what will always bring me back to high school would be my expedition to Antarctica my sophomore year. That was really cool. Nobody really ever gets to experience that on the rez. Hardly anybody gets to travel that far, let alone to Antarctica.

What are your post-graduation plans?  For a long time in the school year I was slacking and didn’t know what to do. I just filled out college applications here and there. Sometimes with scholarships. But, back in January, I got a letter from Minnesota-Morris asking me to play golf for them. That was the plan to go to Minnesota-Morris anyways because they have a really good environmental science program. So, I will be playing golf at University of Minnesota-Morris and might double major in environmental science and Native American studies.

And what are your dreams for the future?  I want to be able to, first off all, come back [to Pine Ridge] and revitalize our environment, our lands. I want to be able to make the earth healthy enough to regrow a lot of natural and traditional medicines just so we’re not depending on hospitals and doctors. I also want to show people younger than me and coming from the reservation, that it's really not impossible to do anything. Especially if you have a passion for it and you set your mind to it. Because I know how difficult it is coming from a place where you have to prove yourself everywhere else.





Koby Morrisette '18

What’s the best part of being a Red Cloud student?  The best part of being a student here is getting to know all your classmates. Being in a private school, you get to know your classmates and teachers more than you would in a public school. Then to also have religion tied into the school a lot with the cultural ways of the church, and today we’re having sweat down [at the sweatlodge]—I enjoy those things because it’s part of our culture and we get to celebrate it.

During your time here, what made you most proud?  I’d say a big accomplishment for me right off was when I was a freshman going into sophomore year, I came back and I realized I was the most improved [in Lakota] from semester one to semester two freshman year. Ever since then I’ve just been carrying on my Lakota language trying to improve it here and there. So that was biggest my freshman year. Other than that it’s more of afterschool, like football. Especially my junior and senior year. We had pretty good seasons. We won the first State playoffs games for Red Cloud, me and my brothers I’ve played with for two years. And getting All Conference for three years in football.

What are your post-graduation plans?  I’ll be leaving beginning of July to the Universal Technical Institutes in Avondale, Arizona. I’ll be there for two years and I’ll be studying auto and diesel mechanics. It’s just what I love to do, so it’s going to be fun and I can’t wait for it. It’s like a dream come true to do your dream job.

And what are your dreams for the future?  After I finish this two-year degree at Avondale, sooner or later, I want to go back to school again for small business and come back [to the Reservation] and start up my own diesel business because around here we don’t have anything for diesel. There are a lot of farms that have [diesel vehicles], but they have to go over 20 miles to get something fix. Just to have it somewhere around where it’s accessible to all the farmers and all the road maintainers so it wouldn’t cost so much.



Photos © Red Cloud Indian School



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