Native American students in the Sioux Falls School District (SFSD) celebrated their upcoming graduation in a traditional honoring ceremony at Washington High School. Ninety students were recognized for earning their high school diploma and/or GED certification.
For the first time, the Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation sponsored this event, thanks in large part to a generous $8,000 grant from the Arby’s Foundation. The ceremony started with an opening prayer, songs by Crazy Bull and a Lakota drum circle, and then the presentation of the American and South Dakota state flag. Veteran Dennis Quigley carried an Eagle feather staff.
There were three speakers who addressed the students and congratulated them on their achievements. Following Dr. George Eagleman’s remarks, the students came onstage, and family members presented them with eagle feathers and star quilts while the drum circle performed an honor song. After the ceremony, the students enjoyed a meal.
“We are incredibly grateful to the Arby’s Foundation for their investment. Through the Student Success Fund, we champion students who overcome adversity. The Arby’s donation ensured that all students were able to participate in this event, and it was a joy to see the parents, grandparents, and other family members beaming with pride as their children were honored,” said Allison Struck, executive director of the Education Foundation.