AP NEWS

Tribe helps 2 students attend South Dakota technical schools

May 6, 2019

WAGNER, S.D. (AP) — A Native American tribe is helping send two students to South Dakota technical schools on the condition that they stay and work in the state for three years after graduation.

The Yankton Sioux Tribe has entered an agreement with the Build Dakota Scholarship program to help cover the costs for tribal members Joi Zephier and Kobe Weverka to attend vocational programs.

Zephier plans to study nursing at Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls and Weverka will pursue a diesel power technology program at Mitchell Technical Institute, the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan reported.

Each scholarship covers $18,000 over two years, which will go toward tuition, fees, books, laptops and other required resources.

Both Zephier and Weverka want to return to the reservation after graduation, though they’re not required to do so.

“After college, I plan on either working with a local operation or start my own shop where I can fix tractors,” Weverka said.

Zephier will first complete licensed practical nurse training before advancing to a nine-month program to transition to a registered nurse.

“This is a huge step for all of us,” said Clayton Deuter, Mitchell Tech’s admissions director. “At the end of this (training for the two students), we’ll have a nurse and a trained technician go out and work, hopefully, in the community.”

It’s the first time that the two technical schools and Lake Area Technical Institute of Watertown are “entering into an agreement as true partners for the Build Dakota Scholarship with one of the tribes,” Deuter said.

Lake Area Tech wants to expand the program to tribes in the Watertown area, said Dana Sanderson, a former Wagner High School counselor who was involved in developing the partnership.

Sanderson hopes the program will grow to include all tribes in the state.

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Information from: Yankton Press and Dakotan, http://www.yankton.net/

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