Sitting Bull College Graduates Give Back

Aug 15th, 2001 | By | Category: 13-1: Honoring Our Students & Alumni, Tribal College News

Alumni of Sitting Bull College now on the staff include (left to right, bottom row) Donna Wuitschick, Renee Vermillion, Sterling St. John. Top row: Melody Silk, Dr. Ron McNeil, and Laurel Vermillion.

Sitting Bull College (formerly named Standing Rock College) in Fort Yates, ND, benefits directly from the education it provides people on the Standing Rock Reservation. Alumni of the college often find themselves in positions as staff or faculty at the college, serving as mentors for new generations of students and tribal members.

Melody Silk, originally from Turtle Mountain, married a native of Fort Yates. A mother of four, she started working as the college registrar in 1991. The tribal college encourages employees to continue their education, with three educational leave hours per week. In 1992 Silk graduated with an A.A. degree in general studies and then went on to receive her B.S. in Elementary Ed/Special Ed. in 1997. Sitting Bull College (SBC) is able to offer bachelor degrees through articulation agreements with Sinte Gleska University and Oglala Lakota College.

“I am really grateful to have been able to go to school in the same town as where we live. It’s hard to be away from the kids so much when you have to travel to go to college. This way I could spend more time with my family; I have a great job; and everything is right here. We’re really, really lucky.” Melody is celebrating her 10th year as an employee of the college. “It’s a wonderful place to work. You feel really good about what you’re doing, and we have a lot of fun.”

Some of the other alumni currently employed by the college include: Ron McNeil, J.D., president; Donna Wuitschick, financial aid officer; Renee Vermillion, business manager; Sterling St. John, resource development director; Laurel Vermillion, vice-president of operations. Five out of these six went on to earn bachelor’s degrees or higher, and one of them has worked for the college for a total of 23 years. There are at least 14 other SBC employees who have graduated from the college.

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