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Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux student earns top scholarship

The following story was written and reported by Richie Richards, Native Sun News Staff Writer. All content © Native Sun News.

Jaime Rae Richards
Jaime Rae Richards hopes to become a nurse or doctor. Photo by Richie Richards

Red Cloud student earns prestigious scholarship
By Richie Richards
Native Sun News Staff Writer

PINE RIDGE –– Red Cloud Indian School senior Jamie Rae Richards has earned the prestigious Horatio Alger Scholarship. The competitive scholarship supports deserving young people who have overcome challenges in their lives in order to pursue higher education.

Red Cloud has a high rate of students who enter college or a vocational training program after graduation. Despite the many challenges of reservation life, including divorce and suicide, Jaime Rae has made it her life mission to serve her community upon returning with her education.

Teachers and administrators say the high-quality curriculum, student-focused environment and programs that honor Lakota culture make all the difference.

For her essays, Jamie focused on one of the biggest challenges she had ever faced and how she was able to continue toward her goal with the support of her family and her faith.

Jaime relies on her teachings from the Bible and her Lakota spirituality to guide her through difficult times and credits faith for her positive nature and realistic vision of her future. Now, as a 2015 Horatio Alger scholar, Jamie is looking to the future with wide eyes and nervous excitement.

The Horatio Alger Association states on their website that they have awarded $100,000,000 in scholarships to approximately 20,000 students across the country since 1984. The association supports low-income students by granting need-based awards to applicants who have demonstrated integrity, academic potential and aspirations to better their community. Jamie will receive $7,000 to apply toward her college tuition next year.

Richards has applied to Dartmouth College and Creighton University. She has set her goals high and is a deserving candidate for the prestige of these institutions. She hopes to become a nurse and work for the Indian Health Services hospital in Pine Ridge someday.

She has been entertaining the idea of doing pre-med as well; this is reflective of her caring spirit and her desire to help others. She just wants to help people and have that personal connection with those in need.

Jaime Rae is a humble spirit who credits Red Cloud’s extracurricular activities for affording her the opportunity to do more than just attend required classes. She has a 3.75 GPA which shows her dedication and ability to meet state standards while taking on more challenges.

While Jamie waits to hear back from her top schools, she continues to keep herself busy as the school's girls’ basketball team manager, applying for additional scholarships and dreaming about the future.

To her community and family Richards says, “You are never limited to anything. Nothing is beyond your abilities. Pine Ridge has been led by negative statistics for a long time and you should not be dictated by these stats. Just reach for the stars and go after your dreams. You can be a doctor or a lawyer.”

Her sage words of wisdom continue, “In the moment things can be bad, but in the end it’s your choice to make it better. I chose to do good for myself and if I can do it, so can you. I just want the best for everybody.”

For her dedication to her spiritual health and the physical well-being of her tribal community, Jaime Rae Richards is our Teen Spotlight this week.

(Contact Richie Richards at

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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