New Red Cloud 2018 Graduates Look Ahead to Bright Futures





On May 19th, Red Cloud Indian School held its high school graduation—and the members of the class of 2018 completed one more step in their educational journeys.

As each senior received their diploma, families, friends, and school staff applauded all their extraordinary accomplishments. Together they earned nearly a million in college scholarships, and nearly 95 percent are going on to post-secondary education. Red Cloud’s newest graduates will be attending outstanding colleges and universities across the country—from New York University, to the University of Minnesota, to the University of New Mexico—to study everything from social work to engineering.

For new graduate Taylahni Jackson ‘18, Red Cloud’s strong support system had a powerful impact on her and her classmates.

“At Red Cloud, our teachers instill in us the idea that we can go to college no matter what—that we can do anything we set our minds to. And it makes an amazing difference,” she said. To many on Red Cloud’s campus, what’s most important isn’t where graduates are going next. It’s the fact that many hope to return to the reservation to support local communities here. In their own unique ways, each graduate is focused on helping to solve some of the most critical challenges facing Pine Ridge.





New graduate Esperanza Hartman '18 will attend the University of New Mexico—and plans to pursue a career in health care.

“I plan to double major in English and psychology. With the psychology degree, I want to take it all the way through medical school and be a licensed psychiatrist,” she explained. “[But] no matter what profession I end up in, I just want to help people and give back to this community in particular, because it has done so much for me. Things aren’t okay here [on the reservation] and I want to help, especially in high-risk areas [like this]. I want to help as many people as I can.”

Payton Sierra '18 also dreams of coming back to create meaningful change on Pine Ridge. And like many Red Cloud graduates, she hopes to serve as a role model for the next generation as well.

“I know how difficult it is coming from a place where you have to prove yourself everywhere else,” she said. “I want to show people younger than me 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.”





Give Red Cloud Students the Gift of Graduation!

Graduation is always a time for celebration. But at Red Cloud, it's a moment to reflect on all that our students have overcome. Against seemingly impossible odds, our seniors are thriving: nearly 95 percent will be starting college in the fall. Help us make sure all our students have the chance to celebrate their graduation.









Photos © Red Cloud Indian School



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