Red Cloud High School junior is one of 30 students to earn scholarship from State Department

Student from Pine Ridge Indian Reservation will head to Cambodia this summer

posted on February 28, 2011

Red Cloud High School junior Tiarra Little will spend part of her summer in Cambodia as part of a scholarship program sponsored by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Youth Programs Division.

Little is one of only 30 high school students nationwide to receive the scholarship. As part of Global Explorers, a nonprofit cultural exchange organization, Little will spend three weeks in Cambodia learning about the country, and the culture and lifestyles of the Cambodian people.

“I am so excited for this opportunity,” says Little. “I am looking forward to interacting with different people and learning about a whole different culture while also being able to share some of my own culture with them. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to experience life off of the reservation before college and I am grateful for it.”

In Cambodia, Little will undertake leadership responsibilities while getting a better insight on humanitarian issues. The program hopes the students will return “as self-aware servant leaders who strive to make the world a more sustainable place now and for generations to come.”

Cross-cultural programs like this are nothing new for Little, who at an early age has already “racked up” thousands of frequent flyer miles and a few stamps in her passport. Last summer, she was a member of the Building Bridges for Peace program, which brought her to Israel for three weeks. She also spent four weeks at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, as part of a program that develops community partnerships in rural, underserved communities in America.

“I want to learn about as many cultures as I can so that someday I can join the Peace Corps,” she says.

Currently ranked at the top of her class, Little is active in many extracurricular activities, including basketball, volleyball, golf and the Science Club. As vice president of the junior class, she has proven herself to be a leader both inside and outside the classroom.

“My hope is to inspire the younger generation,” says Little. “I want to encourage them to do great things and know that it’s not impossible for someone from Pine Ridge to get out and see the world.”

Little will leave for Cambodia on June 10. When she returns in July, she will head to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, representing her tribe in golf at the Indigenous Games USA.