石童学院 Creating the Next Generation of Community Leaders
蒙大拿埃尔德. -即将升入高年级的Jason Rosette (Chippewa-Cree), 在石童学院里步步高升, 落基男孩保留地的一所部落学院, 来自当地学区的专业维修人员, 给辅助专业人士和社区导师, thanks to the college’s investment in his and other students’ educational journeys.
石童学院(SCC)最近推出了“愿景2025”, 它新的“着眼于未来”, 以学生成功为中心的战略计划,，这是与学生合作开发的, 教师, 工作人员, 还有学校的朋友们, which includes helping students like Jason to “embrace their dreams and reach for the stars.”
Jason称自己是SCC的“非传统”学生, but he fits the profile of many students attending a tribal college. According to the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), 大约33%的TCU学生是有家庭的成年人, who are looking to return to or begin school after life experiences beyond high school. It’s not Jason’s student profile that makes him a rising senior at SCC, it’s his perseverance to be in the position to pursue a degree at all.
Jason, 46, spent most of his life in Arizona, far away from his tribal culture and community. Although living in Arizona gave him some connection to his Mexican roots, he only became familiar with Indigenous people through living among people from local tribal nations such as the Navajo and Apache. He says observing these tight-knit communities made him long to become connected with his cultural identity.
Being far from his culture and not knowing himself led Jason down a path where he experienced many challenges, 包括发现自己无家可归. 然后，高中毕业后不久，杰森当上了父亲. He abandoned his education goals to enter the workforce to support his new family. 但是这样做之后, Jason said he quickly learned a high school diploma was not going to give him the opportunities he needed, 他知道有些事情必须改变.
得知母亲要回学校后, 杰森搬到了洛基男孩, 跟随她的高等教育之旅. 但首先, 在上课之前, Jason在Box Elder学校工作, 先是做维修，然后在厨房里做各种工作. 在此期间, Jason began learning about the many programs opportunities SCC offered to Native students and he took advantage of the free tuition for Native students, 在维持工作的同时, and jumped at the chance to learn his Cree 语言 and tribal history as part of the curriculum.
Jason says he knew he was on the right path after taking his first few courses. “我决定把我所有的东西都奉献给我的副学士项目. 我觉得我的工作就是以身作则.他确实做到了.
Jason completed his associate degree in business management, 被评为年度最佳学生, 参加了知识碗, 由AIHEC主办. 杰森开始融入他的部落文化, 语言, 和精神, 并开始和家人一起参加庆典活动.
“以前，我感到迷茫，不知道自己是谁. Connecting to my culture and my 语言 gave me a bigger purpose,他说.
After earning his degree, Jason immediately entered the workforce at a tribal business. He worked his way up from an entry level associate at the call center to a management position. 但这些职业生涯的高潮也伴随着一些个人低谷. Despite his victories, Jason said he was experiencing a bout with alcoholism.
“我是一个高功能的酒鬼，”杰森回忆说. “I was at work on time every day and could perform all my job duties but outside of work, 我用酒精来缓解生活压力.” Jason was again, at a pivot point in his life and sought out opportunities for change. 他把一生献给了上帝, which led him to quit drinking and contemplate the next steps in his educational journey.
在盘点了自己的经历之后, Jason knew his next step including a focus on preventing these cycles within younger generations. Jason recalled feeding children during the pandemic when working in the kitchen at Box Elder Schools. “我们社区的失业率高达90%, and I knew that feeding these young people was the most important thing I could do to serve at the time,他说. “I felt completely overwhelmed at how a place focused on learning can create such a positive impact for people. 我在用食物帮助滋养社区里的孩子们, 但我知道我可以为他们做得更多.”
开始他的新职业生涯, he learned about a paraprofessional job at Box Elder Schools and advocated to take on the role himself.
这简直是天作之合. 他和年轻人相处得越多, Jason said the more strongly he felt the call to continue his education. 他向学校负责人寻求指导, 杰里米·麦克唐纳, who encouraged him to continue his path as well as advised that Box Elder School would work with him to make this dream happen.
Jason began taking classes at SCC to earn a bachelor’s degree in education and he’s on track to graduate in 2024.
“我想起我的过去和我所经历的一切. 我的目标是为我们的年轻人挺身而出，”杰森说. “I believe Native people are facing systematic issues and instead of just talking about these things, I am challenging myself to actively work on making the changes.”
Along with his desire to serve young people in his career as a teacher, Jason is also choosing to serve tribal youth by coaching sports teams on his reservation. He actively works with K-6 grade students who play baseball and basketball with The Stone Child Extension 服务-sponsored youth teams. 杰森相信体育运动可以帮助建立信心, 鼓励团队合作, 并有助于培养积极的态度.
Jason proudly says he has been sober for five years and is in the last year of his bachelor’s degree program, 准备开始学生教学. He sums up his life experience with a favorite quote: “They tried to bury me, 但他们不知道我是一颗种子.” Although he’s unsure of the quote’s author, Jason is surely writing his own story.
科里Sangrey-Billy, 石孩社区学院院长, said Jason’s story is the perfect example of why she and her 工作人员 worked so hard to develop Vision 2025—to build a stronger community by building its future leaders.
“Stone Child believes that everyone who walks through our doors has potential and purpose. Jason showed us his commitment and interest in developing his skills through education and we are investing in a path for him. His journey is a testament to what we can do when we look beyond circumstances and into the future.”