SGU students embark on healing journey

Aug 15th, 2012 | By | Category: 24-1: Communicating Yesterday's Stories Today, Tribal College News
By Sheryl L. Klein

HEALING GRADS. Front row from left: Haelee Engel, Edwina Brown Bull, Darlene Medicine Crow. Back row: Ann Valandra, Kim Coon, Marlow Medicine Crow, Warren Pourier, Sr., and Dr. Mary Ann Coupland

Sinte Gleska University (SGU, Mission, SD) Human Services Department proudly honored the 2012 cohort of students who graduated in the spring with their Master of Arts Human Services – School Counseling and/or Clinical Mental Health degrees.

Seven graduate students and family members were honored at the school’s Wopila Honoring and Feed in Mission, SD. Students shared heartfelt comments to all those who helped them to participate in and successfully complete the master of arts program. Three of the seven were awarded degrees with both the school guidance counseling and clinical mental health specialties, two focused in the clinical area, and the other two in school counseling. They are all currently employed in various helping agencies (e.g. schools, mental health program, or alcohol/drug treatment centers) on reservations in the region.

The master of arts program in human services is a 49- to 55-credit-hour program designed to meet tribal needs as well as those of state and professional licensing organizations. Classes are “blended,” which means the course includes online sessions and several weekend classes each month. That has enabled students from four reservations, hundreds of miles distant, to participate while continuing to work and support their families. Students also take three semesters (nine credit hours) of practicum and internships. The program’s lead professor is Dr. Mary Ann Coupland; she is assisted by Dr. Teton Ducheneaux, Dr. Raffaella Rainieri, and adjunct faculty. Sheryl Klein is the program chairperson.

This cohort of dedicated students started over three years ago with the urging of area educators who firmly believed students and community members benefit from highly trained counselors who come from our tribal communities. Dr. Richard Bordeaux (SGU-retired), Ted Hamilton (Tiospa Zina School Superintendent), Cheryl Medearis (SGU Vice President), and Linda Hunter (Little Wound School Superintendent) were key movers in this initiative. Now it has come full circle and these students will be able to give back to their communities.

Hamilton summarizes the impact of this tribally-focused program by describing it as “a rare one that is ultimately about graduating good relatives who help to heal and save lives.”

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