Clubs and Organizations

Clubs and Organizations Reservation children topic of Rotary The Vermillion Rotary Club held its weekly luncheon meeting on Tuesday, July 21, at the Neuharth Center on the campus of USD.  President David Lorenz opened the meeting and led us in the ?invocation.  This was followed by a round of singing, announcements, and the introduction of guests. Rotarian Renee O'Connor introduced Mary Isaacson as our speaker for the day.  Dr. Isaacson received her Ph.D from the Indiana School of Nursing, and is an associate professor of nursing at USD.  Her presentation centered around her dissertation whose subject matter had to do with research at the Red Shirt Table School on the Pine Ridge Reservation.  Her main theme was that every child deserved the chance to achieve his or her full potential. Her goal was to articulate the needs of reservation children and identify the components needed to build self-esteem in the children. She talked about a phenomenon she called the Paradox of Respect and Risk.  Respect is highly valued on the reservation. If youth are taught to be silent and listen, maybe this is why they are less likely to speak out when they see others engaging in high-risk behavior. She also noted that there is a disconnect between respect for traditions and actual involvement and participation on the part of the children. She stated that children need role models, a sense of identity, and a feeling of being valued.  However much tradition demands respect for elders, seeing high-risk behaviors in some elders may make such themes negative instead of positive. She also noted that student-teacher relationships can be very positive, and even more so if there is also parent involvement. Such relationships increase self-esteem and the chances of completing school. These positive relationships also decrease the possibility of high-risk behavior. This is especially important on the reservation where dropout rates vary between 0.6 percent and as high as 34 percent. Dr. Isaacson had some very positive things to report as well.  The numbers of children attending Red Shirt Table School are continuing to increase and attrition rates are dropping. She also mentioned that every student has also signed up for summer school. Vermillion Rotary, as well as other entities, has been supporting the school by providing school supplies for the children. In order to show the students that they are valued and can contribute, they are asked to give back by interviewing elders about their heritage and culture.  The school is a K-8 school, so the students need to be thinking about where to go to high school. Most high schools in the area require a one to one-and-a-half hour bus ride. She also informed us that 80 to100 percent of students in any given year go on to high school.  This is a very encouraging sign.

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