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Moccasin Tracks to Follow


Tashina Denney grew up in the rural Santee Niobrara school area and went to Niobrara school. Because of a lack of day care facilities at the Niobrara School system, Tashina transferred to the Santee High School in her sophomore year. By the age of eighteen, Tashina was a mother of three children and a college student at the NICC. Today, Tashina is finalizing her General Liberal Arts degree at the NICC, and she has taken a path, by following her interest in children, to acquire a double major seeking her Bachelors’ Degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education with one of our many partners, the University of Nebraska-Kearney. In spite of all these classroom activities and because she has enough qualifying credits, Tashina has positioned herself as an instructor for Santee Nation Head Start for the 3 year old classroom. If this was not enough, Tashina also works at Ohiya Casino on the weekends. Making and giving balance to a schedule that can accommodate all these activities is truly remarkable and if you ask Tashina what drives her, she will simply say “to provide more for my children.” I asked Tashina what advice she would give to other students and she told me, “Prioritize your life. For me, education comes first, because I will always be able to fall back on this and it paves a future for my children. I take my homework everywhere I go, for instance basketball activities, work at the casino, and the day care, because they support my efforts as a student, when it is appropriate.” 

Jeremie Key graduated from the NICC in 2007 with a double major in business and natural resources. He now works for the Santee Sioux Nation Office for Environmental Protection. This program provides the Santee Sioux Nation with resources to address the Nation’s environmental concerns. Jeremie was mentored by one of his instructors, Hank Miller, who urged him to write for scholarships and applying to other supporting organizations to assist with his capacity to attend college ,and these efforts helped Jeremie pay for things such as gas. His journey at the NICC established skills and talents that not only resulted in a career but also helped him even develop his own position from taking our grant writing classes. Think of this for a second; by using what he had learned through our grant writing, natural resources, and business classes Jeremie wrote a grant that funded his own position for next year so he could then provide resources to the Santee Nation to address issues that he and others are directly interested in. WOW! The NICC wishes to take this time to congratulate these two role models and the many others for their work in the community and for following their dreams, as these are truly moccasin tracks to follow. Get your moccasins on at the NICC, see your AAR staff advisor so your path follows your dreams.