Scholarships for Native American Students Take This One to New Heights

Posted on: February 14, 2022

St. Joseph’s Indian School recently awarded $95,285 in spring-semester scholarships to Native American students across the nation, bringing the total awards for the academic year to a record $186,285. This spring, the school provided 78 scholarships: 15 to alumni, 9 to family members of St. Joseph’s Indian School alumni and 54 to others enrolled in a federally recognized tribe and pursuing higher education.

Father-son inspiration was the energy behind Aaron Box’s decision to undertake a degree as a power lineman at Mitchell Tech. He follows in his father’s footsteps in pursuing this career, and when his son Oliver was born, he says it kick-started his future plans. Until then, he says, “I wasn’t making the best decisions in my life, and I walked down a harder road than I should have. I knew it was now or never.” Box, a 2012 graduate of St. Joseph’s Indian School’s High School Program, plans to graduate in May.

Box works at Avera Laboratory Network transporting pharmaceuticals and laboratory specimens, balancing school and work to provide a stable home for Oliver and Box’s partner, Erica. “Our goal is almost reached, and with the scholarship, I believe we can achieve it,” he says. He is already making plans for after graduation and hopes to find a job quickly. Mitchell Tech offers the only Power Line program in South Dakota and boasts a 96% job-placement rate.

St. Joseph’s Indian School created the scholarship program to benefit Native American students pursuing higher education. With the generosity of donors, the school has awarded scholarship dollars to Native American students since 1985. Financial need and academic performance are the basis for determining the awards. Applications are due each fall and spring and are awarded based on proof of tribal enrollment, number of applicants and available funds. Also considered are returning scholars who are continuing their education journey.