Empowering Native American Students Through Scholarship

Posted on: September 29, 2020

St. Joseph’s Indian School recently awarded a total of $90,200 in scholarships to Native American students across the nation for the fall 2020 semester. The school awarded a total of 81 scholarships to 22 alumni, 17 family members of St. Joseph’s Indian School alumni and 42 others enrolled in a federally recognized tribe and pursuing higher education.

St. Joseph’s Indian School alumnus Hope McCloskey is an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and a junior at Augustana University, where she is pursuing a double major in Communications and Media Studies. McCloskey feels like the St. Joseph’s Indian School scholarship has helped relieve tension financially and always exceeds her expectations without fail. “The scholarship really allows me to focus on school and not on how I am going to pay for it or if I should just do things differently. It also lets me know that St. Joe’s is there for me and will most likely always be there for me. I appreciate how much they care when I thought they might have forgotten,” said McCloskey.

After graduation, McCloskey hopes to pursue public broadcasting in news or help work on television shows. She encourages other Native American students to apply for the scholarship. “Apply for it. Don’t hesitate. This scholarship came to me when I was in desperate need of help, and it gave me what I needed,” said McCloskey.

The scholarship fund was created to benefit Native American students pursuing higher education. With the generosity of donors, St. Joseph’s Indian School has awarded scholarship dollars to Native American students since 1985. Alumni Coordinator, Andy Lepkowski assists with the program and says that it has helped students from every background succeed with their hopes and dreams. “Not only do I see these students graduate with a degree, but also I see those students raise families and be good role models for furthering education for their children and family members.”

Scholarships are based on financial need and academic performance. Applications are due each fall and spring and are awarded based on proof of tribal enrollment, number of applicants, and available funds. Returning scholars’ continuing their education journey also is a consideration. “Students have become nurses, doctors, teachers, lawyers, welders, social workers, counselors, and more,” said Lepkowski.