DeAndra McLaughlin ’11


Oglala, South Dakota

Current Location

Washington D.C.


Ranked first in her class, Deandra McLaughlin entered her senior year at Red Cloud High School with an overall grade point average of a 4.1. During her time at Red Cloud, DeAndra has managed the varsity basketball team while also spending her summers at college prep programs. Last summer, DeAndra attended the Biomedical Summer Institute Program at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

Asked and Answered

What was the Biomedical Summer Institute Program at Georgetown University?

It was basically a college preparatory program that allows high school students the chance to experience college life. We stayed in dorm rooms and took actual college courses that allowed us to earn some college credit. The program was directed toward the sciences but we also took an English class that showed us how to write our essays for college entrance and scholarships.

What did you like about the Biomedical Summer Institute Program?

The fact that it helped me to prepare for college is probably my main reason that I enjoyed it. I love living on my own and being able to take classes that will count toward college credit. This program pushed me to want to succeed because everyday they talked to us about all the possibilities that are out there for us. I’m really enjoyed the classes, the labs and just being surrounded by friendly professors who were willing to help, teach and believe in us.

Are the sciences something you want to study after high school?

No. I like science but I have always been interesting in law. My mom is the chief of police in Wagner, South Dakota. Before that, she was a Criminal Investigator. I have always thought that the law was interesting. I believe that the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation could use more law enforcement and I want to be the person to help encourage that.

What type of law degree would you like to get?

I’m not really sure at the moment, but I have always thought that it would be interesting to be a prosecutor or maybe even a Criminal Investigator. I hope to complete a four-year pre-law degree somewhere and then go onto law school. As a senior in high school, Red Cloud is helping me to weigh my options.

So what has been great about your last year at Red Cloud?

Learning. I really enjoy all the classes that Red Cloud offers us. I like the fact that the curriculum offered at Red Cloud is primarily focused on preparing the students for the next step in life. My next step will be college, and I’m very grateful to Red Cloud for helping to prepare me for that. The teachers are great because they help you, encourage you and they really believe in you. Everyone knows everyone at Red Cloud. The classes are small and I’ve been here almost my whole life.

What was it like being the manager for the basketball team and why did you do it?

I did it because its fun and I wanted to support my classmates in all that they do. Being a basketball manager gave me something else to do besides academics. Coach Matt Rama treats his managers the same as he treats his players and he has the same expectations of them that he has of his players. Being right there on the sideline, you got a firsthand look at some of those lessons that really do play an important role in school and in everyday life. You have to be focused and be able to make the right decisions on and off the court.

Who has had the greatest influence on you life up to this point?

My mother. She is my world—my everything. She has worked everyday of my life to provide for my siblings and I. She is determined, driven, humble and a good woman all-around. She is spiritually sound and knows what she wants in life.


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