Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Eighty-Two Graduate from GED Program at Red Lake New Beginnings


The Red Lake GED Class of 2011

The Red Lake GED Program is proud to announce that 82 students received their GED (high school equivalency) certificates in ceremonies held at the Red Lake Seven Clans Casino on Friday May 20th, 2011. The program began at 6:30 PM and included a graduating student who is 70 years old. The celebration, including cap and gown, was held at Seven Clans Casino Event Center on the Red Lake Indian Reservation.

A banquet was held at 5:00 PM for invited guests and graduates. The grads were smudged as they entered the events center single file to the drum of Eyabay.

“We had the largest GED graduation ever for Red Lake”, said New Beginnings Director Marv Hanson. “A total of 82 received certificates”, Hanson said, “although 20 chose not to participate in the graduation ceremonies”. The class included James King, Sr., a 70-year-old graduate.

The turn out was fantastic and the ceremony was very touching and upbeat. It was a great day for the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians.


“The GED program is actually run by the school district, but New Beginnings strongly encourages and helps it’s clients to get their GED or High School Equivalency Certificate”, said New Beginnings Director Marv Hanson. “We work with people on general assistance and MFIP (Minnesota Family Investment Program), Minnesota’s welfare to work program. “We know that part of getting work requires a high school diploma so we insist that clients go through the GED program. We want them to have work experience and education. We now have 300 new clients that need there high school equivalency”, Hanson noted.

Hanson said he had the idea to have the celebration for graduates, including the caps and gowns awhile back. “This was the first time that there has ever been such a program. My idea was symbolic, to celebrate as one would normally do for high school graduation. A ceremony hopefully would instill pride in both the graduates and their families”, Hanson said. Hanson says there was a lot of interest among the graduates to do this, as evidenced by 60 of the 82 grads participating in the ceremony. “Our graduates were able to experience the graduation with others, something they missed when they dropped out”, remarked Hanson, “it felt so good to see all the smiling faces.”

Hanson said that the concept has captured the imagination of the The American Council on Education (ACE) in Washington D.C., and have asked him to report on the success of the idea. According to Hanson, Non-graduation or dropping out of high school is an epidemic across Indian country, which may be why the ACE is interested in what they feel is an innovative idea. The ACE is the sole developer for the GED test.

Graduation Day: Speakers

At 6;30 PM, graduates began filing into the Seven Clans Event Center, not to the tune of Pomp and Circumstance, but to the beat of the Eyabay Drum. A welcome and introductions by emcee Hanson followed. "Let there be no doubt, that you are an accomplished graduate," Hanson said. "All the hard work has paid off, all the tests that you have taken to receive this diploma, you are now educationally accomplished."

After an opening prayer by Spiritual Advisor Leland Whitefeather, congratulatory remarks were provided by School Superintendent Brent Gish, Chairman Floyd Jourdain, Jr., and Tribal Executive Administrator Lea Perkins.

“Minogiizhigad, "It is truly, a very good day," began Red Lake Superintendent of Schools Brent Gish in his congratulatory remarks. "I would suggest that it's a great day, a celebration, that these GED graduates are here to attend, and for all of you that have come to witness it. We have been given another day to walk the earth and the many blessings each of us have in life."

Gish went on to say all were witnessing a "celebration of accomplishment" of reaching a goal in life, of earning your GED.

"You have worked hard to and we are all proud of you”, he said.

"The main thing that I want to stress to young people and to you today," said Red Lake Chairman Floyd Jourdain, Jr. " is that this is a beginning. GED, that's the first step. We want to see you in college. We want you to come to our tribal college. That will be an effective springboard onto Bemidji State University, UND, Vocational College, Stanford, or wherever you decide."

Jourdain commented on the large graduating class and on crowd that was there to support them. “This is the first time we’ve had this kind of celebration”, noted Jourdain. “Hopefully, you all will be an inspiration to others to get their GED. Today it’s so important to get an education, for Indian people to be educated - the Nation is proud of you”.

Executive Administrator for the Red Lake Tribe, Leah Perkins, echoed the congratulations of others, and then spoke about her personal experiences, and how important mentors were to her in continuing her education. “The only thing stopping you, was you," said Perkins. "You have to want it, and if you want it, you go after it. There are ways of getting over the obstacles, and don’t be afraid to ask for help"

Presentation of Certificates

Laura Malott, Adult Basic Education (ABE) Coordinator/Instructor, and Janelle Clark, General Education Development (GED) Coordinator at New Beginnings, then took the stage for the presentation of certificates. They were aided in their endeavor by Chairman Jourdain, and Administrator Perkins, as Hanson read the names of the graduates one by one to come to the stage. Smiles and high fives were abundant as applause and cheers resonated from the audience.

Red Lake GED Graduates 2010 – 2011

Andrew Barrett, Crystal Barrett, Michael Barrett, Brandon Beaulieu, Bryan Beaulieu, Gabriel Beaulieu, Melanie Brown, Ryan Brown, Benjamin Cloud Jr., Dominique Curry, Danika Curry-Johnson, Tiffany Defoe, Keith Dow Jr., Lacey Ducheneaux, Oyate Eagletail, Allen English, Brandon Fairbanks, Rochelle Graves, Hester Greenleaf, Chelsea Hardy, Gary Head, Sondra Hegstrom, Rose Heinonen, Fannie Howard-Johnson, Charlie Jackson, Allysha Johnson, Debbie Johnson, Paul Johnson, January Johnson, Beau Johnson-Lafave, Mark Jourdain, Alexander King, Bambi King, James King Sr., Amanda Kingbird, Phylicia Kingbird, Shawn Kingbird, Verlin Kingbird Jr., Danielle Ledoux, Elisha Little, Justin Lussier, Lateisha Lussier, Laura Lussier, Nodin Makwa, Katrina May, William May, Nia May, Christopher Morrison, Virginia Muneton, Mishaun Neadeau, James Needham, Nora Parkhurst, Stephanie Pemberton, Alan Randberg, Lee Redden, Chad Reynolds, James Rojas III, Chad Rosebear, Josephine Roybal, Ashley Sayers, Keith Schoenborn Jr., Sarah Smith, Natalie Spears, Orland Spears, Darwin Stately, Stephanie Stately, Dorla Stillday, Tyann Stillday, Chris Strong, Jordan Sumner, Lorena Sumner, Jeffrey Thompson, Maiingan Thompson, Mekko Thompson, Cody Thunder, Nicolet Wayka, Promise Weiss, Toni Wells, Amber White, Amy White, Avery White, Roy White Sr.

Special Recognition: James King, Sr.

A special recognition to one of the graduates, James King Sr ., was presented. King, the oldest graduate of this years class, is 70 years old. Jourdain and Perkins took the stage again, to make the presentation of a Pendleton blanket to King. King waved in response and appreciation to the cheers, whistles and applause from his classmates and guests. "Thank you, Jim, you are truly an inspiration for our GED Program and the Red Lake Band," Hanson said.

Reaching the end of the program, the graduates turned and faced their proud family and friends, and all stood for a Recessional Honor Song by the Eyabay Drum.

New Beginnings GED Program and Red Lake Adult Basic Education staff include: Janelle Clark, GED Coordinator; Mavis LaDuke, GED Coordinator; David Chose, Tutor; Sherrie Clapp, Tutor; Chris Dunshee, ALC Principal; Laura Malott, ABE Coordinator/Instructor; and Kathy Ferrin, ABE Substitute Instructor.


Inspired? Think you Might Want to Get Your GED?

You Are Far From Alone

Most jobs today require at least a high-school education. The global marketplace is becoming more competitive each year. It is even tougher for individuals without a high school diploma or General Education Development (GED) certificate. Furthering your education could be one of the biggest steps of your life. Having your GED certificate will definitely increase your employment choices.

Background on the Graduate Equivalency Degree (GED)

The American Council on Education (ACE) is the sole developer for the GED test. The test is taken in person. Jurisdictions award a "Certificate of General Educational Development" or similarly titled credential to persons who meet the passing score requirements.

Only individuals who have not earned a high school diploma may take the GED tests. The tests were originally created to help veterans after World War II return to civilian life. Common reasons for GED recipients not having received a high school diploma include home-schooling, leaving high school early, the inability to pass required courses or mandatory achievement tests, the need to work, or personal problems.

More than 15 million people have received a GED credential since the program began. One in every seven Americans with high school credentials received the GED, as well as one in 20 college students. Seventy percent of GED recipients complete at least the 10th grade before leaving school, and the same number are over the age of 19, with the average age being 24

History of the GED Testing Program

In November 1942, the United States Armed Forces Institute asked the American Council on Education (ACE) to develop a battery of tests to measure high school-level academic skills. These Tests of General Educational Development gave military personnel and veterans who had enrolled in the military before completing high school a way to demonstrate their knowledge. Passing these tests gave returning soldiers and sailors the academic credentials they needed to get civilian jobs and gain access to post-secondary education or training.

ACE revised the GED Tests for a third time in 1988. The most noticeable change to the series was the addition of a writing sample, or essay. The new tests placed more emphasis on socially relevant topics and problem-solving skills. For the first time, surveys of test-takers found that more students (65%) reported taking the test with the intention of continuing their education beyond high school, rather than to get better employment (30%). A fourth revision was made in 2002 to make the test comply with more recent standards for high-school education.

The Minnesota GED

The GED gives adults who haven't graduated from high school the opportunity to earn a high school equivalency certificate. Individuals who wish to attend a post-secondary institution will have a better chance of acceptance with such certification.

General Education Development (GED) certificate.

A GED will allow you to make up for your high school diploma while giving you the same benefits

Minnesota GED Requirements


• Must be 16 or older, must not have earned a high school diploma and must not currently be enrolled in high school.

• Must be a Minnesota resident.

• Must have been dropped from high school attendance rolls for the past 12 months OR have applied for admission to a postsecondary institution pending successful completion of the GED OR the US Armed Services have indicated (in writing, on letterhead stationary) that you will be accepted for enlistment once you have successfully completed the GED.

Exam Format

The exam consists of five different subject sections taken in 7.5 hours:

1. Language Arts – Writing (Comprised of a 45-minute essay composition)

2. Language Arts - Reading

3. Mathematics (Parts 1 and 2) (Part 1 allows the use of a calculator while part 2 does not)

4. Science

5. Social Studies

Scoring and Retesting

The score ranges from a minimum to 200 to a maximum of 800 on each subject section. The minimum required on each section is 410. The total minimum required for all subject sections is 2050. Try your best to score higher on subjects that are more familiar.

Retesting on a form not previously taken is allowed at the local chief examiner's discretion. Evidence of additional preparation and/or study may be required before retesting is allowed.


Adult Basic Education (ABE) programs are offered by local school districts, some community and technical colleges and community organizations provide cost-free instruction for the GED tests. These programs will administer official GED Practice Tests that can be used to identify academic strengths and weaknesses. The practice tests can also help you plan a course of study that will better prepare you to successfully pass the GED tests.


The existing high school completion rate includes GED certificate holders, which seems reasonable because GED’s are awarded to students in lieu of finishing high school by passing tests in five subjects. There are plenty of reasons at the individual level for a high school dropout to achieve a GED. A high school diploma or GED is often required for post-secondary education programs or entry-level jobs

Students who fail to graduate high school and unprepared to attend a four-year college, are much less likely to gain full access to our country’s economic, political, and social opportunities. To be “college ready” students must pass three crucial hurdles: they must graduate from high school, they must have taken certain courses in high school that colleges require for the acquisition of necessary skills, and they must demonstrate basic literacy skills.

The graduation rate for white students is 72%; for Asian students, 79%; and for American Indian students in Minnesota, 54%. The college readiness rate for white students was 37%; for Asian students, 38%; for American Indian students, 14%.

Brief History of American Indian Education

(From Expanding the Circle, University of Minnesota)

There are many research studies that support the need for transition strategies for American Indian students. In 1990, among those in the population 25 years and older, 66% of American Indians had completed high school, compared to 75% of the total U.S. Population (includes GED); 9% had attained a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 20% of the total U.S. population; and 3% held graduate or professional degrees, compared to 7% of the total U. S. population

(Pavel, et al., 1993). In 1992, the dropout rate for American Indians was 56% and 46% for Alaskan Natives (Cahape & Howley, 1992).

In 2000, in the state of Minnesota, where this curriculum was developed and piloted, the statewide high school graduation rate for American Indians was 42.6% compared with 82.8% for Caucasian students; the high school dropout rate for American Indian students in Minnesota in that same year was 34.4% compared to 9.2% for Caucasian students.

There are a multitude of reasons for these statistics. The status of American Indian student achievement has its roots in history. Trainers and students must be aware of the historical impact on the state of American Indian education today. While there may have been collaboration in some communities, federal policies did not support cooperation on a national level. Federal policies for American Indian cultural assimilation were implemented after policies of extermination and removal were set aside. Indeed, an industry of assimilation was supported with federal and faith-based resources, targeting the children of American Indian nations in particular.

One historical occurrence that has had long lasting and far-reaching impact on the education of American Indian people was the formation of the American Indian boarding school. The American Indian boarding school, as an institution of assimilation, was designed to suppress the culture, language, and spirituality of American Indian nations throughout the United States. Such institutions were built and operated throughout the country, controlled by non-American Indian government agents and churches.

During the late 1800’s and into the mid-1900’s, boarding school attendance was mandated. Thus, from the age of 5 through 18, American Indian children were removed from their families, for month or years at a time, and placed in the boarding school where a harsh indoctrination occurred. A systematic suppression of American Indian culture occurred during this era, which included the banning of American Indian spiritual practices and the speaking of native language, all of which held severe punitive repercussions.

The Indian boarding school served as a means to assimilate American Indian children and to train American Indian students as laborers. For the most part, the level of education and training afforded American Indian students prepared them for menial vocations. As a result, most American Indian students today do not have several generations of professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, or bankers to emulate.

New Beginnings Executive Director, Marv Hanson

Today, it is often the first or second generation of the American Indian professional that is being encountered, not because of cultural inferiority or academic indifference, but because of the lack of a dignified, humane system of education. Indeed, many of the psycho-social ills that persist in American Indian communities today can be traced to the boarding school era and the systematic enforcement of child maltreatment. While not as prevalent, the American Indian boarding school still exists, although attendance is voluntary. Most schools now work closely with surrounding American Indian tribes, employing tribal members as staff and reflecting the culture of American Indian students as part of its educational programming.

Despite these historical factors, American Indian tribes throughout the United States have maintained their culture, language, and spirituality. This chapter in American history is seldom discussed or presented.


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