Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

Inspirational Banquet Held for Juniors and Seniors

Inspirational Banquet Held for Juniors and Seniors

The Sokaogon Chippewa Community Education Department invited high school juniors and seniors to enjoy a feast and inspirational speeches May 17th at the Mole Lake Casino Conference Center.

Education Director Yvette McGeshick shared inspiring information with the students, provided insights on available college scholarship opportunities, and let the audience know she is the person they can come to with their educational questions and pursuits.

She encouraged students to get an early start to look for available scholarships that match up with their desired career path. It can take a lot of research to find exactly what they need.

“There are so many applications and scholarships, and all that scary stuff that they have to go through, but if they get on it quickly and do it at a slower pace, it won’t be so overwhelming,” Yvette said. “I want our kids to start thinking about their future in a concrete way, not just dreaming about it.”

Sirella Ford from Lac Courte Oreilles was the invited guest speaker. She shared her struggles and victories while pursuing her academic goals. After attending Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, KS, she put her college career briefly on hold after becoming pregnant, but later continued her education at Northland College in Ashland, WI.

“Take all the classes you can; make friends; soak it up,” Sirella shared. “I appreciate that I was able to change my mind and attend a smaller community college like Northland.”

Sirella said she was able to get more one-on-one help at Northland College which pushed her to do better for herself and even complete a semester in Greece.

Considering attending college away from home can be hard for some youth who have grown up on a reservation and face leaving their family and tight-knit community. It can also be a culture shock for those who haven’t traveled before. Yvette told students that they will always have that support system back home and while away at school.

“I went to college and felt so alone at first, until I stumbled upon a room with other Native students,” Yvette said. “Suddenly, I felt like I was home again being with other people like me, who shared similar backgrounds and understood me.”

At the end of the night, the students left with gifts and insights on how to continue their education after high school.

Chi Miigwech to Randy Fisher for being the head cook for the delicious feast, Leelyn VanZile for the wild rice, and to Sirella Ford for the good words.

Contact Yvette McGeshick at 715-478-3830 with any education questions.