FBC students among 1,000 at 30th AIHEC conference

Aug 15th, 2011 | By | Category: 23-1: Beyond Racism, Tribal College News
By Rebecca Bishop


“We don’t need another Indian dropout . We need another Indian graduate.”  That was one of the essential messages delivered by keynote speaker Hattie Kauffman, national news correspondent for the CBS Early Show at the 30th Annual American Indian Consortium Conference held in Bismarck, ND, in April.

Describing growing up in a dysfunctional family and being placed in the foster system, Kauffman recalled that when she announced as a teenager that she was going to drop out, a family friend urged her not to do it. “That stuck with me, and so I continued on to graduate high school and become a journalist on national television,” she told the audience. Kaufman is the first Native journalist to report on a national broadcast.

Six students represented Fort Belknap College (FBC, Harlem, MT). They included Jessica Longknife, Lisa Cooke, and Tasha Stepetin, who competed in the Science Bowl; and Brandi King, Julia Morales and Dana Azure, who competed in the Knowledge Bowl. Jessie Brockie was the recipient of the AIHEC Student of the Year award for FBC and also competed in the Wii competition. Although no trophies were brought home, the intense desire to showcase the students’ abilities was more than evident in all the events.

The students participated in the Science Bowl, Knowledge Bowl, stick game competition, and the Wii Competition. Sean Chandler (Knowledge Bowl) and Cheryl Morales (Science Bowl) were the coaches for the teams. FBC President Carole Falcon-Chandler and Dean of Students Clarena Brockie supported the students, as did Rebecca Bishop, FBC public relations specialist; Danielle Jackson, Title III institutional research assistant; Manny Morales, U.S. Department of Agriculture project director; Carol Krominga, business manager assistant; and Gerald Stiffarm, KGVA station manager.

Students found the four-day event a great opportunity to compete with other colleges and universities. “Competing against the other schools really made us aware of our strengths and weaknesses as individuals and as a team,” Brandi King said on the way home from Bismarck. “We have a bond now because of this type of interaction with each other, the staff that supported us, and our new friends from across the country.”

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