2010-06-09 / Front Page

Many of today’s college graduates plan on additional degrees

OLC set to award seven masters, 45 bachelors – Tom Allen to give keynote
By Tom Crash Times Correspondent
PINE RIDGE – “This is a really exciting time of the year as we see so many of our students go on to earn a college degree and even plan on continuing their education with graduate degrees,” said Norma Tibbitts, education line officer for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, “it is such a positive for the Oglala Sioux Tribe and each of these college graduates, wherever they graduate from, is a positive role model for all of our K-12 students all across the reservation.”

In addition to the several students who have earned degrees from colleges and universities around the country, Oglala Lakota College is set to present their 37th graduating class Sunday, June 20 at the Three Mile Creek pow wow grounds at Piya Wiconi southwest of Kyle. The Pine Ridge Reservation based school will award seven masters degrees, 45 bachelors, 87 associates and 16 certificates.

“We are honoring each of our students for reaching their goals, honoring them for their hard work and diligence and honoring their families and all who were part of their support groups, we are celebrating the accomplishments of our graduates,” said Tom Short Bull, OLC president, “each of these graduates will make a positive impact on the people of the Oglala Lakota Nation and will make a difference in the lives of their families and communities.”

Oglala Lakota College set a new record for students with 1,882 students enrolled this past spring; they are close to completing a new multi-purpose facility which includes a gym with a college size floor and when completed will be home to OLC’s Lakota language immersion school while all of the headstart facilities will be new or renovated by 2011 and OLC is close to reaching the $12 million endowment campaign for faculty and instructors by 2011, OLC’s 40th anniversary.

Tom Allen, past OLC development director and long time consultant and proposal writer for the college will be the graduation’s keynote speaker on Sunday morning June 20.

More and more tribal members are having more success at completing their undergraduate degrees at schools all across the nation and setting their sights on higher degrees with a strong sense of confidence that they can do it.

O’Bryan found University of South Dakota to be a great match for her educational goals

VERMILLION – Marissa O’Bryan was the valedictorian of her 2006 graduating class at Red Cloud high school, she earned the Gates Millennium Scholarship, enrolled at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion and ran indoor and outdoor track for the Coyotes her freshman and sophomore years before she put her entire focus on the nursing school.

“USD was just a great fit,” said O’Bryan who is currently preparing for the state boards at the end of June while working at Heartland Home Health where she works with elderly in their homes helping them to stay in their homes rather than being institutionalized, “the instructors were very welcoming, it was easy to adapt, the community was good to me and their were challenges but it was a great degree.”

In May, O’Bryan graduated with honors in the top 10 per cent of her class; she was on the Dean’s List from 2008- 2010 and a member of the Student Nurses Association. Marissa was an Academic All American in 2008.

“When I first attended USD, it was a real challenge, I had to learn the lay of the land, what worked and what didn’t and how to manage my time,” said O’Bryan, “the preparation I received from Red Cloud high school really helped.”

After her state boards, O’Bryan plans to work through the summer then work part time as she works on her BSN from Briarcliff University in Sioux City, Iowa. She then wants to experience a big hospital with the newest in technology and equipment, working in a neonative intensive care unit possibly in a warmer climate.

“Graduation day was exciting, a feeling of achievement, it was awesome putting on a cap and gown,” said O’Bryan, “everyone should go out and try college, there are plenty of people willing to help you, it goes by so fast and before you know it you are walking across the stage.”

Pine combines two majors for an interdisciplinary degree, already working, looks ahead to graduate school

CHADRON, Neb. – “Sure there were hardships but most students have problems they have to overcome,” said Dale Pine Jr., a 2005 Red Cloud graduate who earned a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Chadron State College in Chadron, Neb., “I just had to keep motivated to overcome any problems and stay focused on my academics.”

The interdisciplinary degree combined majors of physical education and social sciences. Dale applied for the elementary physical education position at Red Cloud middle school last week. He has already snagged a job as the public relations coordinator for the OST Child Care program in Pine Ridge; Dale maintains the web-site, takes photos of events, handles all of the promotional materials and is set to travel to Washington D.C. for a conference later this month.

“School was tough at times, you were an hour away from home but at times a world away,” said Pine who plans to work for a couple of years before going back to school for a masters in organizational management, “the academics were tough, especially going to class everyday, constantly studying but you were always gravitating towards that goal of graduating and after each step, CSC seemed more doable to finish.”

One highlight for Pine was the opportunity, during his junior year, to try out for the men’s basketball team, to hang in there for the two day tryout with some really good athletes from around the country.

“The relationships I developed over the years were very valuable,” said Pine, “a number of them I would never have had the opportunity if I didn’t go to college, they added a richness to my life and helped me to finish; if you are still in high school, don’t hesitate to develop relationships with others at your school or schools around the reservation, you never know when they will come in handy.”

Gates Millennium Scholarship will help Pierce continue education in graduate school

LINCOLN – Last month, Sarah White Pierce earned her B.A. in English from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Married and the mother of two boys, Tom fives years old and William two years old, Sarah plans to continue to use her Gates Millennium Scholarship to pursue a Masters in English at Creighton University in Omaha in the fall.

Currently White is teaching English at Gear Up in Rapid City on the campus of S.D. School of Mines and helps with the Shannon County Schools arts camp in the evening. She has enjoyed all types of writing and eventually would like to teach at the college or university level.

“Raising a family and going to school is a tremendous challenge,” said White who is a 2005 Red Cloud graduate, “you have to learn how to manage your time, stay motivated, solve problems as they come up and keep your eye on the target; if you really want it, you can get it done.”

Master of Arts in Lakota

Leadership and Management-

Dianne Amiotte-Seidel, Lynn Cuny, Gloria Eastman, Madonna Good Shield- Wright, Carolyn New Holy, Billie Standing Bear and Deborah Tobacco.

Bachelor degrees -

April Waloke B.S. in K-12 Lakota Studies Education, Melvin Bad Hand B.S. in Lakota Studies, Rose M. American Horse, Darlene Last Horse, Mona Little Hawk B.A. in Lakota Studies, Elvira M. White Wolf B.A. in Lakota Studies, A.A. in Lakota Studies, A.A. in Tribal Law, Certificate in Lakota Language, Alanna A. Apple, Kennita W. Janis, Carrie Murdock, Cheryce Runnels B.S. in Business Administration Specialization in Management, Robert Lafferty B.S. in Business Administration Specialization in Tribal Management, Bessie Lebeaux, Thomas W. White Eyes, William B. White Eyes B.S. in Information Technology, Trent Strand B.S. in Information Technology, A.A. in Information Technology, Donald Lee Belile, Helene Quiver-Gaddie B.S. in Interdisciplinary Environmental Science Earth Science Emphasis, Charles Comes Killing B.S. in General Agriculture Posthumously, Joyce Little White Man-Dupont B.A. in Early Childhood, Celena P. Bear Robe, Naomi H. Belile, Cheryl Bettelyoun, Krystal D. Brave Eagle, Jerilyn Fast Wolf, James McDonald, Tiffany Weston, Stephanie Wince , Lisa Yellow Horse, Olen Zephier B.S. in K-8 Elementary Education, Valentina Makes Him First B.S. K-8 Elementary Education, A.A. in Elementary Education, Jeff White Bear Claws B.S. in K-8 Elementary Education, A.A. in Lakota Studies, Certificate in Lakota Language, Joanne Beare, Keri Clucas, Donnel Irene Ecoffey, Joan Frieberg, Martina Moves Camp, Trinity Peoples, Jeanine Rogers, Amber Rose Sierra, Bachelor of Social Work, Annie Gassman Bachelor of Social Work, A.A. in Lakota Studies, Trivia Afraid of Lighting B.A. in Literature and Communication, A.A. in Literature and Communication, A.A. in General Studies, Kristian Rawlings B.A. in Literature and Communication, Aliyah Sanders B.A. in Social Science, Jennifer Takes War Bonnet B.S. in Human Services,


Delaney Apple, Agnes Clements, Roberta Jumping Eagle-Spencer, Lori King, Ida Little Thunder, Christie Locke, Wamblee Looking Horse, Owen Marshall, Olowan Sara Martinez, Jonathan Old Horse, Tamera Romero, Tonia Stands, Donna Talks, Rachel Valandra, Tabor White Buffalo, Dion Whiting, Jacoby Zimiga Jr., Zabie Zimiga A.A. in Lakota Studies, Stormie Clifford, Kacena One Horn A.A. in Tribal Law, Diana Lessert A.A. in Accounting, A.A. in General Business, Sharon Marrufo A.A. in Accounting, A.A. in General Business, A.A.S. in Entrepreneurship, Francesca Villarreal, Kate White A.A. in Accounting, Lori Arrow, Cherilyn Black Feather, Thelma Clifford, Johaunna Dreamer, Alisha Hall, Bonnie Lebeaux, Elizabeth Miller, Tina Phillips, Loretta Twiss, Charlotte Wolf, Angeline Yellow Boy-Stinson A.A. in General Business, Florence Yellow Boy-Benson A.A. General Business, A.A. in Tribal Management, Sharon Running Hawk A.A. in Tribal Management, David Herman Sr., Austin Richards, Richard Wellnitz A.A. in Sci ence, Engineering and Math, Adrienne Shabi A.A. in Science, Engineering and Math, A.A. in Life Sciences, Anthony Barajas A.A. in Life Sciences, Ronald Adams Jr., Laura Clifford, Linda Cooper, Stephanie Ghost, Cleo Hale, Judy Hall, Charles Long Soldier, Tamera Long, Delora Marrowbone, Sharon Mesteth, Donna Red Willow, Joan Rousseau, Rhiannon Schreiner, June Spotted Eagle, Darla Swain, Tricia Tyon-Brewer A.A. in Early Childhood, Daycia Cummings A.A. in Elementary Education, A.A. in General Business, Tera Cuny, Michael Curran, Kimberley Fish, Lynn Hernandez Dubray, William Jacobs, Geneva Minick, Ray Red Leaf A.A. in Elementary Education, Leonora Garcia A.A. in Elementary Education, A.A. in Lakota Studies, Samantha Brewer, Bobette Herman, Sarah Janis, Kaleigh Johnson, Stepheny Lamont, Sandra Pettigrew, JoBeth Swallow A.A. in Nursing, Sherry Shiftlett, Vickie Smith A.A. in Chemical Dependency Counseling, Theodora Thin Elk-Belt A.A. in Social Science, A.A. in Literature and Communication, Nellie Bald Eagle-Red Star, A.A.S. in Customer Service, Franklin Milk A.A.S. in Electrical Technology, Douglas Pourier A.A.S. in General Construction, Yolanda Garcia, Claudette Hernandez, Roberta Means-Featherman, Sara Mesteth, Trudy New Holy A.A.S. in Office Technology, Marlon Yellow Boy A.A.S. in Television Production


Peter Bissonette, Harriet Brings, Brian Dodge, Delphine Eagle Hawk, Phyllis Hollow Horn Certificate in Lakota Language, Gertrude Bearing, Lynnelle O’Rourke, Jaqueline Randall Certificate in OfficeSoftware Applications, Melissa Rooks Certificate in OfficeSoftware Applications, Certificate in Office Technology, Yvonne Chase Certificate in Customer Service, Thelma Backward, Willie Biros, Thelma Clifford, Floydine Two Bulls, Danielle Whirlwind Horse Certificate in Office Technology, Cassandra One Horn Certificate Office Technology, Certificate in Office Software Applications

This is the third in a series of three stories on graduation…

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