Billie White ’11


Pine Ridge, South Dakota


Red Cloud High School Senior Billie White leaves her mark on the Red Cloud community as a bright young woman full of many talents. A member of the National Honor Society, Billie continuously remained on the gold honor roll while balancing an impressive athletic career. Billie has been active in track, cross country and basketball. She qualified for the state tournament in cross country during her freshmen, sophomore and junior years. She was also part of the 2009 cross country team that bought home the first place trophy from the Lakota Nation Invitational.

Recently awarded the Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholarship, Billie plans on attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is the third of her siblings to receive the Gates scholarship and fourth in her extended family.

Asked and Answered

You have chosen the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as your college of choice. How did you come to that decision?

My sisters Sarah Pierce and Audi White are there, so I know that I will have a strong support system. They both received the Gates scholarship and are working hard to complete their college degrees. I believe that it will help me to have them around as I experience my first year away from my parents. They have been great role models to me up to this point so I look forward to having their leadership in college.

What’s it like being the third of your siblings to receive the Gates scholarship?

It’s very exciting for everyone in my family! My parents are very proud and supportive of all of us. My sisters are very happy for me and I am actually the fourth in my extended family to receive this scholarship. My cousin was awarded the Gates last year, so you could say that our entire family is happy. I am still in awe. I couldn’t believe it, and I still can’t. I felt so relieved because I did not know what I was going to do if I didn’t receive this scholarship.

I know my parents were also relieved for me because I have an eight-month-old daughter and now I am financially set to go to college and create more opportunities for the both of us.

What do you plan on studying once you get to college?

Right now I am undecided but I am interested in pharmacy. I am going to college to learn and broaden my horizons, so I am sure that once I get settled into college life I will find something that really interests me.

What do you like about pharmacy?

It’s still very new to me. I took this interest inventory test at the high school and when it came back, it said that pharmacy would be a good fit for me. I am into computers and science so I thought, “Hey that sounds interesting.” Like I said, I don’t know what I want to study in college but I do know that I am open to suggestions.

So what are you looking forward to next fall?

A fresh, new start! I want to be in a new place with different people and basically experience life outside the reservation.

What will you miss about Red Cloud?

The teachers, friends and relationships that I have created here. I will especially miss the track and cross country teams because I love to run and spend time with my teammates. I can’t believe that four years ago, I wasn’t even thinking about running in track or cross country, but our coach, Matt Rama, talked me into trying out so I did and now I will miss it the most.

What have been your favorite classes at Red Cloud?

Probably the math classes. Math is easier for me to learn than English. Of course, I like English too because it’s challenging. I also really enjoyed chemistry with Wendell because he has a different way of teaching things and he makes his classes exciting.

Who have been role models for you throughout your high school career?

My parents, mostly because once I had my baby I was going to quit school but they talked me into working hard and finishing. They have always been real encouraging of me. My teachers have had great influences on me, especially Wendell Gehman, Hope Boeve, Anne Grass and Matt Rama. Wendell helped to give me a better understanding of the sciences and he is a good person and teacher who believes in everyone. Hope and Anne have always been there for me when I needed someone to talk to. And Matt always encourages me. If it weren’t for him I wouldn’t have started running and I believe that it’s because of running that I had such good grades. You have to have good grades to participate in sports so I’m very thankful to him and all of them for everything they have done for me.

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